In recent decades, tuberculosis has not been among the irremediable diseases. Tuberculosis patients can recover by the DOT treatment diagram. However, because many patients decline to follow treatment diagram, many of them present resistance against medication.
On the occasion of the Day of World against Tuberculosis, Dr Hoang Thi Quy, director of Pham Ngoc Thach hospital talks about tuberculosis and the work fighting the disease in HCM City.
Could you say about tuberculosis situation in HCM City?
The number of tuberculosis patients is on the rise. Number of newly-contracted patients in 2004 saw an increase of 16% against 2000. The proportion of tuberculosis patients without lung disease increased from 15% in the period 1995-2000 to 21% in 2004.
Is that because we have a poor programme of fighting the tuberculosis that the incidence rate is rising?
According to assessment of officials from HCM City anti-tuberculosis programme, the increase in number of tuberculosis patients is attributed to the HIV pandemic. The report on anti-tuberculosis in Vietnam period 1997-2003 produced by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation shared the same assessment.
However, statistics indicate that the number of tuberculosis patients is on downward trend among women.
Do you have assessment on current efforts against tuberculosis in HCM City?
HCM City authority paid much attention on the works against tuberculosis. The city peopleâ€™s committeeâ€™s instruction8on intensifying works against tuberculosis in the local area is a good example. Besides, local department of labour, invalids and social affairs, and association of vanguard youth made great efforts to discover and provide treatment for tuberculosis patients, whereby the pressure on management of patients in the communities is considerably lessened. Other social organisations support us in healthcare communication and mobilisation of people to have checks for tuberculosis.
What has HCM City done?
The resistance against medication is increasing by 1.2% in 1996 to 2.2%. This figure is not an alarming rate but the city authority expects both private and public healthcare centres to participate in the fight against tuberculosis.
What is the most difficult part in the anti-tuberculosis fight?
There are many difficulties, but now the city programme is coping with two obstacles. The number of tuberculosis patients with HIV is on upward trend but the coordination of efforts to fight against tuberculosis and HIV is not tight enough. However, to date we have yet to have remedy for those who resist against medication. So that the tuberculosis patients might face with fatality, that has bad impacts on treatment progress and the populationâ€™s belief in the programme. The city programmers of the fight against tuberculosis are planning to deal with the difficulties. It is expected that until the end of 2005, there will have an integrated solution to enable to have treatment for tuberculosis in parallel with HIV.