Forum talks non-communicable diseases strategy

Senior experts from the Government, public and private hospital administrations, civil society, and academia have gathered in Hanoi for a discussion on the state of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Vietnam.

Moderated by Ha Anh Duc and Vuong Tuan Anh, both senior researchers at the Institute of Population, Health and Development, the roundtable discussed how the country’s healthcare eco-system needs to meet challenges in the face of rising NCD rates.

"Southeast Asia is no doubt struggling with the challenges of successfully managing the NCD burden," said Duc, who is a founding member of the ASEAN NCD Network.

NCDs account for 60% of global deaths, with 80% occurring in low- and middle-income countries, making them a major cause of poverty and an urgent growing issue.

In Vietnam, the overall NCD morbidity and mortality rates have been rising rapidly in the last two decades.

The mortality rate from NCDs is four times higher than from infectious diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are now the leading cause of death in the country, killing three times more people than infectious and parasitic diseases, and accounting for nearly a fifth of the total disease burden.

But the risk of many NCDs can be lowered with concerted efforts by all stakeholders to drive behavioral change, the workshop heard.

"The ASEAN NCD Network is taking the first big step towards helping the countries in the region to find plausible, long-term solutions," Sanjay Bapna, head of SEA, Philips Healthcare APAC, said.

"Some of the ideas and solutions shared through the session in Hanoi today might be further developed into working policies and initiatives to help with the burden of non-communicable diseases on the local and national healthcare systems,” Sanjay Bapna added.

The ASEAN NCD Network has undertaken a bloc-wide study on innovations in NCD Management with a core focus on Vietnam.

VNA/ VOV online