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Non-communicable disease prevention and control improved in Vietnam

Hannah Nguyen Hannah Nguyen

ngminhphuong26@gmail.com

January 19, 2021 | 07:23

The HelpAge International in Vietnam (HAIV) recently has successfully organized the first training course on Non-communicable Disease Management and Prevention in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

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Improving prevention and control of non communicable disease in vietnam
At the training course on Non-communicable Disease Management and Prevention in Ninh Binh. Source: HelpAge International in Vietnam

This activity is part of the Development and Expansion of Non-communicable Disease Intervention Project in Vietnam (SUNI-SEA) funded by the European Union.

Attending the training session, there were representatives of Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE), representatives from Associations of the Elderly at all levels in Ninh Binh, representatives from Ninh Binh City Medical Center, representatives from Health Station of Ninh Nhat Commune, Ninh Khanh ward, and Ninh Phong ward and five intergenerational self-help clubs (ISHC) in these three communes/wards.

At the training session, participants were provided with basic knowledge about the ISHC model and the activities to control and prevent hypertension and diabetes through the club model. In addition, participants also learned more skills for effective screening, control, and prevention of hypertension and diabetes, and discussed how to effectively integrate cummunity-based activities with primary care facilities to optimize NCD prevention.

Following the retrospective study and situation assessment, the SUNI-SEA team in Vietnam developed an intervention framework that aims to strengthen the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the community. Based on the intervention framework, the project focuses on capacity building of primary health care (PHC) facilities in service delivery and facilitating the synergies between the PHC providers and the community-based groups in the prevention and management of NCD in the community.

Additionally, the project aims to improve the community members’ awareness and participation in the prevention, monitoring, and self-management of chronic diseases through the ISHCs initiated and supported by the HelpAge International in Vietnam (HAIV). The project also enhances the role of local authorities and health managers in directing and supervising NCDs prevention and control programmes.

Improving prevention and control of non communicable disease in vietnam
Regularly checking the blood pressure and weight can help early detection of high blood pressure and diabetes. Source: HelpAge International in Vietnam

Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model is a community-based intervention project which centres around the elderly, aiming to promote the livelihood and the role of elders in their communities. The ISHC model has been developed by HelpAge international in Vietnam, and in 2016, the prime minister announced the Decision 1533/QĐ-TTG which stated that local governments need to allocate funds for the establishment of ISHC throughout the country; mass organisations and local agencies such as the Father Front Land, Women Unions or Elderly Associations will take the lead in the implementation of the Decision.

In health care, the ISHC provides a way of delivering health promotion activities through the synergies between the model and the local health facilities. It also provides home care services through its volunteers, or in some cases, its paid care assistants. The selection of study sites where the community groups have been well established is a crucial foundation to ensure that both the retrospective and prospective studies will be developed and scaled up in a coherent manner.

Non-communicable diseases account for about 70 per cent of total diseases in Vietnam and are the leading cause of death – accounting for 77 per cent of total deaths nationwide.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health (MoH) showed that many people were not aware that they suffered from hypertension or diabetes.

The number of patients undergoing treatment was low, with about 29 per cent of diabetes patients and 14 per cent suffering from hypertension undergoing some form of care. The main reason was a lack of knowledge among Vietnamese patients.

In order to prevent and limit non-communicable diseases including diabetes, the Vietnamese Government has issued the ‘Vietnam Health Programme’ with 11 solutions. Of which, four solutions were being actively implemented, including proper nutrition, strengthening physical activity, and preventing harm caused by tobacco and alcohol.

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Hannah Nguyen