Plan announced to eradicate TB in Vietnam

The National Tuberculosis Prevention Program has announced a plan to eliminate tuberculosis from Vietnam by the year 2030, which includes a strategy to cut the disease in half by 2015.

Vietnam currently ranks 12th among the 22 highest TB burdened countries and 14th among countries with a multi-drug resistant TB burden, Bernama reports. Part of the strategy is to keep the rate of MDR TB steady between now and 2015.

“TB epidemiology in Vietnam is still higher than the previous estimation of health experts,” NTP Director Dinh Ngoc Sy said, according to Bernama. “Thus, a significant number of TB cases remain undiagnosed or unreported and will continuously be sources of transmission.”

The NTP estimates that Vietnam has close to 200,000 TB cases of all kinds and that 100,000 of thoses are new cases. Under 60 percent of TB cases in Vietnam are treated annually and MDR-TB is present in close to 20 percent of patients who have been previously treated, according to Bernama.

To make the eradication plan possible, Vietnam will need to raise $250 million from international and local donors within the next five years.

“The state funding for the tuberculosis prevention program only meets about 30 percent of the budget requirement,” Sy said, according to Bernama.

Problems the TB prevention has run into in Vietnam include a lack of human resources, inadequate budget, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a weak health system and legal shortcomings. The NTP will target treatment in prisons and integration into the overall health system and will address the TB/HIV relationship.