Non-communicable diseases on upward trend

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on upward trend across the country, said Vietnamese Ministry of Health in a meeting about policies to prevent these diseases in Hanoi on May 14.

This is worrisome information. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, Deputy Health Minister, stressed that Vietnam is facing great difficulties to handle double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

However the impact of non-communicable diseases is rising rapidly, while for communicable diseases the impact is decreasing. The burden of non-communicable diseases accounts for two over third of diseases and deaths in the country.

Currently, the country has around 12.5 million people suffering high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol; 2.5 million diabetes people; over 2 million Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma sufferers. Moreover, each year around 125,000 new cancer cases are reported in the country.

In addition, non-transmissible diseases badly affect the living quality of people if they are not treated properly. In other words, if NCD disorders are diagnosed early, and effectively managed at the primary health care level, the cost will be minimum while the people with NCD disorders can live a healthy, active life and can continue to be productive for society.

Nguyen Van Tien, Vice Chairman of National Assembly Social Affairs Committee, said that non-communicable diseases threat not only to human health, but also to development and economic growth. Increase in the number of non-communicable diseases means increase in treatment fee; accordingly, prevention of non-communicable diseases is the government’s and party’s priority program.

According to medical experts, factors to cause non-communicable diseases are unhealthy lifestyle with less exercises, smoking, drinking and fats. It is estimated that the country has around 16 million smokers and out of four males, one drink too much or he drinks over 60 gram of wine a day; nearly 7 million obese people and one over third adults suffer elevated blood cholesterol.

Worse, the rate of people in the age of 30 to 69 on the risk of diabetes is 13 percent.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that the country reported 520,000 fatalities in 2012, of which 73 per cent were caused by NCDs.

By Khanh Nguyen – translated by Uyen Phuong

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