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May 15, 2024 / 10:15

WHO official praises Vietnam's health performance

Vietnam can be proud of having transformed life and health in recent decades.

Dr Saia Ma'u Piukala, the World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific, praised Vietnam's health sector achievements during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha on May 13.

Saia Ma'u Piukala hailed the changes in medicine and health care in Vietnam over the past few decades, noting that since 1945, life expectancy in the country has increased by many years, and there's been a significant reduction in preventable diseases, including the eradication of polio, as well as great strides in tackling diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. 

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha (right) and Dr Saia Ma'u Piukala, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific on May 13. Photo: VGP

Vietnam has expanded its health insurance system, which has helped the country achieve success in providing health care for its people, the Regional Director said, adding that progress has also been made in addressing risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, such as reducing smoking rates.

Dr Saia Ma'u Piukala said that with life expectancy in the country increasing by 15 years, Vietnam can be proud of the transformation of life and health in the country in recent decades.

With massive reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases, including the eradication of polio, Vietnam has also made great progress in controlling diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics, he added.

The official stressed the critical role of primary health care as the frontline for meeting basic health needs. He suggested that Vietnam focus on key priorities to improve the health sector, particularly in the areas of preventive care, healthy lifestyles, health security, and e-cigarette management.

He is also committed to working with Vietnam to improve healthcare and contribute to regional and global sustainable development goals.

In response, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha expressed hope for WHO's continued support in restructuring and consolidating Vietnam's preventive health system.

"As one of the 15 countries selected by WHO for mRNA vaccine technology transfer, Vietnam needs more practical assistance to boost its research and production of vaccines that would help combat both emerging and re-emerging diseases such as measles and tuberculosis," the official said.

He said Vietnam always pays attention to the production, purchase, and distribution of medicines, vaccines, and biologicals, suggesting that WHO send experts to help the country refine procurement mechanisms to ensure a long-term and sustainable supply chain of medicines.

"Our medical and public health policies have been formulated with the consultation and support of WHO specialists, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic," Ha told his guest.

He asked the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health to assess the impact of e-cigarettes on public health, especially among young people, and to consider WHO's recommendations in order to develop appropriate management solutions.