‘Vietnam Diabetes Care Program’ launched

The Vietnam Diabetes Care Program (VDCP) will be launched in a ceremony in Hanoi on November 7, organized by the Ministry of Health and the Embassy of Denmark on occasion of the visit of the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to Vietnam.

The initiative is in response to the growing problem of diabetes in Vietnam, which is now estimated to affect five million people, many of who are still silent sufferers with undiagnosed conditions.

The vans carry material for diabetes education, risk factor screening, blood glucose screening, healthy diet and healthy living guidance information

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, Novo Nordisk Vietnam-a Danish healthcare company, along with world leaders supporting care of diabetes, have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch   the Vietnam Diabetes Care Program.

Over the next three years, the key objectives of the program will be to increase awareness of diabetes, improve screening for people at risk, train more physicians on diabetes management, achieve better control in treating patients and increase access to diabetes care, particularly in pregnant women and children.

Starting from November 6, the program will kick start with a series of activities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City such as the inauguration of a training center at the National Endocrinology Hospital; setting-up of a diabetes village camp in Hanoi; initiating diabetes awareness in children at the National Pediatric Hospital and Center of Excellence in Diabetes at Cho Ray Hospital.

In addition to a training program for physicians, a network of diabetes centers will be set-up to improve diabetes care in Vietnam. Endocrinology units in leading hospitals have been identified as Centers of Excellence in Diabetes such as the National Endocrinology Hospital, Cho Ray Hospital etc. These centers will receive support from VDCP for their ongoing activities in diabetes care, research and education.

To raise awareness on diabetes and screen individuals at risk for diabetes, diabetes village camps and vans have been set-up. These special village camps in Hanoi (Thong Nhat Park, Nov 6-14) and Ho Chi Minh City (Nguyen Du Stadium, Nov 11-14) will be set up to commemorate World Diabetes Day on November 14. They will also have counters for diabetes education; risk factor screening; blood glucose screening; consultation facilities for patients with diabetes; healthy diet and healthy living guidance.

At the same time, the special vans will help raise awareness on diabetes and healthy living in provinces and screen individuals at risk of diabetes. The vans will carry material for diabetes education, risk factor screening, blood glucose screening, healthy diet and healthy living guidance information.

To improve diabetes care in vulnerable groups like children and pregnant women, programs on diabetes will be conducted. As part of this program, 20 children with Type 1 Diabetes from poor socio-economic strata, identified by the National Pediatric Hospital, will receive free insulin for the next three years.

Vietnam is experiencing a rapid rise in non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension due to the fast changing socio-economic conditions, industrialization and urbanization.

Prevalence of diabetes was 1.2 percent in 1994 and 3.8 percent in 2001. However data from 2009 in Ho Chi Minh City showed a prevalence rate of close to 11 percent.

Experts believe that there are close to five million people with diabetes, though more than 60 percent of these have not been diagnosed. Even diagnosed patients are receiving sparse treatment and many fail to achieve targets in treatment.

Data also shows that close to six out of 10 diabetes patients suffer from some form of complication caused by diabetes.

By Uyen Phuong

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