Discrimination, prejudice against tuberculosis aiding spread of disease

Discrimination and prejudice against people suffering from tuberculosis has resulted in patients hiding their illness and adopting self-treatment methods, which is only further aiding the spread of this disease in communities.

Dr. Dinh Ngoc Sy, director of the National Lung Hospital and chairman of the National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Program, made this statement at a meeting to mark World Tuberculosis Day.

With 180,000 additional tuberculosis patients and around 20,000 people succumbing to the disease each year, Vietnam now ranks 12th among the world’s top 22 countries that have the highest number of tuberculosis patients.

Moreover, Vietnam also ranks 14th among 27 countries having the highest number of multi-drug resistant TB patients.

The number of cured tuberculosis patients’ account for 60 percent of all newly infected cases, while the rate of youth and teenagers being infected with tuberculosis is two percent of total number of patients.

The disease is no longer incurable, said Sy. Every year, around 90,000 people are cured, yet the greatest concern now is that 5-6 percent of about 300,000 TB patients nationwide are simultaneously infected with both tuberculosis and HIV.

Meanwhile, the National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Program is facing difficulties, including shortage of personnel and capital. Sy said the program should enhance propaganda activities to raise people’s awareness of the disease and eradicate prejudice and discrimination against infected people, and also encourage the medical fraternity to participate in anti-tuberculosis missions.

By K. Nguyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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