How Vietnam is ensuring NCD prevention and control amidst COVID-19

Dr Vuong Anh Duong from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health provides an update on the country’s management of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Speaker: Dr Vuong Anh Duong
Deputy Director,
Department of Medical Service Administration,
Ministry of Health Vietnam

Summary

There is increasing incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Vietnam, due to higher rate of risk factors such as obesity and smoking. Dr Vuong listed several ways that Vietnam has focused on to prevent and control NCDs. This includes introduction of policies and legislation, and reform of the healthcare system, such as establishing provincial CDC centres that integrate several NCD-related health centres. There are also plans to build capacity, through for example training for NCDs on the primary healthcare level.

Amidst the pandemic, there are several challenges in NCD management, such as lockdowns restricting access by patients, or hospitals going into lockdown / stopping admissions of new patients due to COVID-19 concerns.

In response to these, Vietnam’s health ministry has issued guidelines on NCD management, eldercare and mental health care. In lockdown areas, medical services and drugs were delivered to the patients’ homes. Community health centres took on the role of dispensing drugs and medical examinations from hospitals, and patients were provided with 3 months’ supply of medication instead of 1 month’s supply previously. In addition, telemedicine was adopted at healthcare facilities, such as Hanoi Medical University Hospital provides remote support on medical care and treatment for district hospitals of Lao Cai and Quang Binh province.

Key takeaways:

  1. The management of NCDs is a priority for Vietnam health authorities, and they have a slew of initiatives to build capacity, standardise guidelines in detection and treatment, and so on.
  2. In overcoming challenges in NCD management due to COVID-19, community and district-level hospitals are taking on a heavier role in drug dispensing and monitoring for NCD patients.
  3. Moving forward, the plans are to strengthen primary healthcare facility capacity, develop digital health technologies for NCD management, and develop quality evaluation standards.

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