The health sector needs to develop more public health programmes to raise awareness about preventive health, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said yesterday at a meeting reviewing the health and population target programme from 2016 to 2018.
“We have to communicate and help people improve their health by changing their lifestyles and behaviour,” Tien said.
The public needs to learn about the importance of screening, she said, adding that many people in rural areas are not aware of the need for periodic health examinations that can detect disease early.
Primary health care includes provision of vitamin A as well as prevention of malnutrition and rickets, among others.
The network of grassroots-level health facilities throughout the country, which play an important role in prevention of diseases in communities, need to be more innovative in their management, she said.
According to Tien, a significant challenge is the shortage of funds for these programmes. The Government funds to carry out the programmes are insufficient, while the health insurance fund only covers the cost for health examination and treatment when they need treatment.
“It is vital to change the financial mechanism,” she added.
In addition, many provinces and cities have not paid attention to allocating funds for these programmes.
However, according to a report from the management board of the health and population target programme, the number of fatalities due to disease fell three years after implementation of the programme, and there was not a large outbreak of disease.
The coverage rate of immunisation among children under 1 year old, pregnant women and those of children-bearing age was more than 95 per cent.
The rate of malnutrition among children with low-birth weight fell from 17.5 per cent in 2010 to 13 per cent last year, while the rate of stunted children was 23.3 per cent last year, compared to 29.3 per cent in 2010.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the community was controlled at 0.3 per cent, with the number of new HIV cases fell.
However, the population is aging while urbanisation and industrialisation are causing many health problems.
Cancer, diabetes and chronic heart and respiratory diseases all increase the risk of morbidity and mortality.