Health insurance coverage reaches 93.35% of population

Hanoi: The Vietnam Social Security (VSS) has completed and surpassed all set targets in the coverage of social, unemployment and health insurance, according to VSS General Director Nguyen The Manh.

Health insurance has now covered 93.35% of the country’s population, exceeding the goal set in the Government’s Resolution No. 01/NQ-CP as well as the National Assembly’s Resolution No. 68/2022/QH15 on socio-economic development plan for 2023, Manh said at the VSS’s conference in Hanoi on January 17 to review the sector’s performance in 2023 and launch tasks for 2024.

Last year, total premium from social insurance, unemployment insurance, and health insurance reached over 472.3 trillion VND (19.24 billion USD), a year on year rise of 8.55%, 1.41% higher than the target assigned by the Prime Minister, while total expenditure was 439 trillion VND.

Meanwhile, the rate of people joining social insurance reached 39.25% of the labour force, or 18.25 million people. The rate for unemployment insurance was 31.58%, or 14
.69 million people, said the VSS leader.

In 2023, the VSS paid monthly pensions and social insurance benefits to 95,670 people, along with one-off payout of social insurance benefits to more than 1.3 million people, and sickness, maternity, convalescence, and health recovery benefits to more than 8.8 million people, he added./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Grassroots-level healthcare plays import role in fighting tuberculosis

Hanoi: The diagnosis of tuberculosis at grassroots-level healthcare facilities plays an important role in the fight against tuberculosis as Vietnam stands at high risk of tuberculosis outbreaks.

Dinh Van Luong, Director of the National Lung Hospital and head of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Project, said grassroots-level healthcare facilities are a competent, responsible, and dedicated force protecting the community against the disease.

Assessing the COVID-19 impact on tuberculosis prevention and control, he said the pandemic delayed by five to eight years the provision of essential TB services and increasing the global TB burden.

‘Vietnam is still a country with a high tuberculosis burden, ranking 11th among the 30 countries with the highest proportion of tuberculosis patients and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world, according to World Health Organization’s Global TB Report 2023,’ he told the Vietnam News Agency.

During the pandemic, Vietnam’s TB fight f
aced challenges with the over 20% decline in the number of infections detected in the community in 2021 compared to 2019 and 2020.

This put Vietnam on the list of countries with the highest rate of reduction in tuberculosis detection in the world due to the impact of the pandemic.

The TB death rate in Vietnam has been also on the rise, reaching 12,000 people in 2021, an increase of 35.8% compared to 2020.

The National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Programme has strived to launch the TB prevention task at all communes and wards across the country, with 100% of the population getting access to the programme.

Fifty-one out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide have established lung and tuberculosis hospitals.

The programme has expanded cooperation with partners such as the Ministry of Public Security, Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control under the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as central and
provincial general hospitals.

Local authorities have committed to implementing the model of TB detection in the community.

Everyone who has a health check-up at community medical facilities will have TB screening and check-up for other lung diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Thanks to that effort, in the first nine months of 2023, the total number of TB patients detected by public and private healthcare facilities reached 26,300 patients, accounting for 33.4% of total patients.

This has demonstrated the efficiency of grassroots TB detection, Luong said.

The official said the medical sector needs to strengthen TB diagnosis at the community level, focusing on high-risk groups to early detect and treat TB, looking towards ending the infection source in the community, and soon ending the epidemic.

In 2023, one of the most outstanding achievements in the fight against TB in Vietnam was the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the disease diagnosis.

The application of AI will facilitate th
e detection of tuberculosis, especially cases that are easily missed or difficult to reach, Luong said.

The medical sector has also stepped up TB detection in the community and at healthcare facilities by applying X-ray and Xpert testing for diagnosis.

Thanks to active participation of the community level healthcare system, in the first nine months of 2023, the National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Programme detected 78,674 cases, a year-on-year increase of 1,909 cases.

Detection of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis during this period also rose by 44% compared to the same period in 2021./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam closely monitors disease situation amid global COVID-19 reemergence

Hanoi: The Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine on January 16 asked localities nationwide to keep a close watch on the disease situation in the face of complex developments of infectious diseases, especially respiratory ones, around the world.

In December 2023, nearly 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 were reported worldwide while the number of hospitalised cases surged 42% from the previous month. New variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have continuously changed, and sub-variant JN.1 is spreading rapidly around the globe, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The US, China, and some European countries have recorded the re-emergence of COVID-19 infections as well as the transmission of other respiratory illnesses like seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus.

In Vietnam, the northern region is now in the transitional period between winter and spring, when cold and dry weather is alternated with wet weather, triggering infectious diseases, especially respiratory ones. Meanwhil
e, the numbers of cases suffering from other infectious diseases like dengue fever, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and some others which have already had vaccines have also been on the rise in many places, the department pointed out.

It warned that the coming Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays and spring festive season, when trading and travel demand surges, along with abnormal weather changes are favourable conditions for diseases to spread, particularly among children with weak immunity and the elderly with comorbidities, who are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Given this, the Department of Preventive Medicine asked provincial-level departments of health to propose their provinces and cities’ administrations soon issue plans on infectious disease prevention and control for 2024. They were also told to engage all local sectors and socio-political organisations in the work, especially during Tet.

In particular, local health departments were demanded to order grassroots health units like disease control ce
ntres and preventive medicine bodies keep a close watch on the disease situation and the increase in infections of respiratory illnesses and severe cases of viral pneumonia.

They need to maintain constant monitoring to detect infections early so as to make timely response, control transmission, and minimise severe cases and deaths, the Department of Preventive Medicine added, requesting the expanded programme on immunisation be properly maintained./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

HCM City doctors successfully perform second fetal cardiac intervention

Hanoi: A second foetal cardiac intervention has been successfully performed by doctors from Tu Du Hospital and Children’s Hospital No.1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

During prenatal examinations, 27-year-old pregnant woman, N.P.P.A., from District 3, HCM City, was diagnosed with foetal heart abnormalities at 21 weeks of pregnancy, specifically progressive aortic valve stenosis. She underwent amniocentesis for genetic testing, which showed no abnormalities.

By January 11, the pregnancy had progressed to 29 weeks with severe aortic valve stenosis. After consultations, foetal experts and paediatric cardiologists unanimously concluded that emergency foetal intervention was crucial in this case.

Without intervention or if delayed until after 29 weeks of gestation to dilate the aortic valve, the risk of foetal death would be extremely high.

The foetus faced the possibility of either dying in the womb, with a stillbirth rate exceeding 30%, or progressing to hypoplastic left ventricle syndrome with a 50% risk of a univent
ricular heart wall (requiring multiple surgeries after birth for temporary return to univentricular circulation or complete treatment with a heart transplant).

Cardiologists determined that foetal cardiovascular intervention at this juncture was appropriate. However, predicting the foetal position for cardiac catheterisation presented challenges due to excess amniotic fluid and frequent foetal position changes.

The surgery started at 9am on January 12.

The surgical team faced the expected challenges, with the foetus frequently changing positions, making it difficult to insert the needle into the left ventricle and onto the aortic valve.

The intervention at Tu Du Hospital took 20 minutes to position the needle correctly, and it was then handed over to the heart valve catheterisation team at Children’s Hospital 1 to complete the crucial final step – aortic valvuloplasty.

Post-surgery, the pregnant woman was closely monitored in the operating room for 15 minutes, and the stabilised condition of foetal peric
ardial effusion was confirmed.

The successful surgery concluded at 11am on the same day, with continuous monitoring of the pregnant woman post-surgery. By 1pm, the foetal pericardial effusion was well controlled, the foetal heart rate was normal, and the mother’s condition was stable.

Earlier on January 4, the same expert team from Tu Du Hospital and Children’s Hospital 1 achieved a milestone by conducting Vietnam’s first foetal interventional cardiac catheterisation. This involved a pregnant woman who, during her first pregnancy, was monitored in Da Nang city. Transferred to Tu Du Hospital due to the foetus’s severe heart abnormalities – a birth defect without a pulmonary valve opening and right ventricular hypoplasia – the intervention successfully addressed the issues.

Subsequent examinations showed good flow through the foetal pulmonary valve, with no pericardial effusion.

Both interventions were executed with absolute precision, marking a significant advancement in technical expertise comparable to t
hat of developed countries in the region.

Through the initial two foetal interventional cardiac catheterisations and first-hand observation of the seamless coordination by obstetric and paediatric experts at Tu Du and Children’s Hospital 1, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health said several decisive factors contributed to the success of these interventions.

These include accuracy in ultrasound techniques by paediatric cardiologists at Children’s Hospital 1, demonstrating precision in diagnosing foetal congenital heart lesions, serving as the crucial guide for accurate foetal cardiac catheterisation intervention.

Experience and precision in foetal intervention performed by doctors from the two hospitals are also crucial factors.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health views this success as an initial outcome in the specialised field of foetal congenital heart intervention./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Indonesia’s airport on high alert to prevent COVID-19 entry

Jakarta: The Port Health Office (KKP) at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia’s Tangerang said that it is trying to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid increasing cases of the viral disease in Singapore.

This anticipation is a precautionary measure ahead of the year-end holidays, according to head of the KKP Naning Nugrahini.

Although the port health office has not detected any cases of the coronavirus, the KKP office has remained vigilant and prepared health facilities, such as health clinics, for passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms as it sees high passenger movement.

‘If we find any case, we will send them to the KKP clinic for a doctor’s examination, including an antigen test,’ she said.

She added that the KKP office is coordinating with a team of doctors to anticipate COVID-19 transmission by carrying out contact tracing and health tests for passengers.

The COVID-19 Control Task Force will also increase the enforcement of health protocols for passengers. The anticipatory ef
forts against COVID-19 emergence during the holiday season will include the installation of body thermal scanners and the deployment of KKP officers at every terminal, according to Nugrahini.

Passengers at the airport are being reminded to comply with the health protocols, such as wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands, she said, highlighting all airlines are advised to implement the health protocols.

According to Health Ministry data on December 6, the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia increased by 35-40, with the number of patient hospitalisations reaching 60-131, and the number of deaths rising by 0-3.

The current cases are dominated by the Omicron XBB 1.5 subvariant, which was blamed for the COVID-19 wave in Europe and the US. In addition, the EG2 and EG5 subvariants have also been detected in some patients.

However, the number of COVID-19 cases is still lower than during the pandemic, when it reached 50,000-400,000 per week./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency

Luxury cruise ship brings 3,000 tourists to central localities

A Celebrity Cruises ship with more than 3,000 passengers and crew on board berthed at Chan May port, the central province of Thua Thien – Hue on November 12.

The passengers will visit several central localities, including Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam.

According to Deputy Director General of Chan May Port Joint Stock Company Nguyen Van Chuong, cruise tourism has been on a good recovery, with many travel firms having registered to bring visitors to Chan May port.

During January – September, the port welcomed 12 cruise ships which carried more than 13,000 travelers, he said, adding the port expects to host 10 more international cruise ships until the end of this year.

Ngo Lam Thong, a US national, said while the ship docks at Chan May port for ten hours, he will visit the imperial citadel of Hue – a world heritage site to discover royal art and architecture.

He said returning Vietnam after more than 20 years, he is delighted at the country’s development and quality tourism service.

Chan May port
can accommodate 70,000 DWT vessels, and 225,000 GRT cruise ships. It is among 46 seaports in Southeast Asia selected by the Asia Cruise Association as a stopover for cruise ship.

Chan May Port Joint Stock Company said 30 cruise ships with 48,000 passengers and 18,700 crew members have registered to dock at the port in 2024./.


KUANTAN, The Tekek Health Clinic in Pulau Tioman today welcomed the birth of a baby boy, the first baby born at its Maternity Centre since it was upgraded last year.

Pahang State Health Director Datuk Dr Nor Azimi Yunus said the 35-year-old mother safely delivered her third child, weighing 3.2 kilogrammes, at 7.32 am.

“The baby was received by trained staff. Both the mother and the baby are in a stable and good condition,” she said in a statement today.

Dr Nor Azimi further explained that the maternity centre was upgraded with the latest medical equipment thanks to the allocation of RM2.9 million from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

“The Pahang State Health Department is grateful for His Majesty’s allocation to the Tekek Health Clinic on Pulau Tioman.

“This good news has also been shared with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who has agreed to make a donation to the family and the baby through Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB) in the baby’s name,” she said.

Dr Nor Azimi said the department, through the Tekek Health Clinic Maternity Centre, remains committed to providing the best services, especially to expectant mothers in Pulau Tioman.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency