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Oct 03, 2023 / 16:48

Hanoi schools join Young Health Program Vietnam

The second phase of Young Health Program Vietnam will be implemented over three years to improve Vietnamese youth's health and quality of life, primarily those between 10-24 years of age.

The second phase of the Young Health Program Vietnam (YHP) for the 2023-2025 period was officially launched on September 29, and along with communication campaigns, awareness-raising activities are scheduled to take place at schools in Hanoi.

Most of the schools in the districts of Cau Giay, Long Bien, Dong Anh, and Hai Ba Trung will join the YHP, which has been held by Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), AstraZeneca, and Plan International Vietnam.

The program is a global community investment initiative of AstraZeneca, and the second phase will be implemented over three years to improve the health and life quality of the Vietnamese youth, especially those between 10-24 years of age.

Specifically, YHP aims to ensure that young people are equipped with knowledge about risky behaviors and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention, which gives them greater capacity to make informed decisions about their health in the context of improved health services.

  Delegates attend the launching ceremony. 

The program's second phase will focus on youth and the prevention of the most common NCDs, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease.

"We believe that investing in the health of young people today is an investment in the sustainable future of society as a whole. We are proud of the tangible and positive impact of the YHP in Vietnam during the first phase (2019-2022) and look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the upcoming phase," said Nitin Kapoor, Chairman and General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam.

He cited the World Health Organization's (WHO) report that NCDs accounted for 77% of all deaths in Vietnam in 2018. In 2011 and 2014, NCDs were responsible for 75% and 73% of all deaths in Vietnam, respectively, indicating a plateauing or slightly increasing trend in the prevalence of NCDs.

Vietnam's population is estimated to be more than 98 million in 2023, and young people aged 10-24 years account for about 21% of the population. WHO's 2018 estimate of the probability of premature death (between 30 and 70 years) from NCDs in Vietnam was 17% (23% men, 11% women). According to Nitin Kapoor, cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of NCD-related deaths, accounting for 31% and 19%, respectively.

Quach Thuc Anh, Finance Director of Plan International Vietnam, said it is critical that her country pay attention to young people during this important period of their growth and development.

"At a young age, many decisions are made, habits are formed, and paths are chosen that can have lifelong and intergenerational effects. Evidence shows that unhealthy behaviors associated with NCDs - including unhealthy diet, tobacco use and exposure, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol - are often initiated during childhood and adolescence," Anh stressed.

In fact, it is estimated that more than half of all NCD deaths are associated with behaviors that began or intensified during adolescence. "To accelerate the global response to NCDs, greater attention and investment are needed in the early years of life, especially adolescence," she added.

The results of the Global Survey on Children's Health Behaviors, conducted in Vietnam in 2019 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) in collaboration with WHO, provided evidence of behaviors and indicators affecting schoolchildren's health.

According to Nguyen Thanh De, Director of the Department of Physical Education, WHO has identified behaviors and lifestyles formed from school age that are linked to the increase in NCDs.

He highlighted the success of the YHP Vietnam-Phase 1 with a great impact on its target beneficiaries. Some highlights include 81% of young people showing an increase in knowledge related to NCD risk factors, a 79% increase in young people's awareness of 3 or more NCDs, and the proportion of young people with positive behaviors related to healthy eating rose by 63%, De cited.