The workshop was organised on the occasion of World Health Day on April 7.
“Vietnam has faced the rising burden of disease in the form of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases,” Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at the event.
Long said the country’s diabetes rate had doubled to 5.4% of the population in 2012, compared with 2.7% in 2002. Vietnam currently has some three million people with diabetes, of which, more than 60% are unaware of their condition.
“Diabetes is caused by many risky behaviours, such as poor nutrition, the lack of physical exercise, smoking and alcohol abuse. To prevent and control diabetes, priority should be given to the effective enforcement of laws and regulations on tobacco control, food safety and environmental protection,” Long said.
The deputy minister said the health care system should be further strengthened to improve examination and treatment quality at hospitals and grassroots health care, preventive medicine and family doctor systems to enable early detection and better manage and treat diabetics in the community.
Efforts to prevent diabetes in Vietnam should be strengthened, especially in preventing obesity. Healthy eating habits and physical exercise practised from a young age could stop the rise of diabetes in adults, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Vietnam Lokky Wai said.
Wai also suggested that Vietnam expand its health-promoting campaigns to reduce risk factors for diabetes, such as physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthen the national capacity to help diabetics receive the treatment and care they need to manage their condition.
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
The number of people living with diabetes worldwide has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Obesity is one of the factors driving this dramatic rise, according to statistics from WHO.
WHO is marking its annual World Health Day, which celebrates the organisation’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for action against diabetes.