Vietnam facing health calamities

Cancer is becoming a health calamity as the disease’s burden accounts for 66 percent of total disease costs and badly affects to the socioeconomic growth.

Cancer is becoming a health calamity as the disease’s burden accounts for 66 percent of total disease costs and badly affects to the socioeconomic growth.

Vietnam facing health calamities ảnh 1
Treatment for a cancer case in Tumor Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)

The country reports at least 126,000 fresh cancer infections every year and 190,000 cases will be diagnosed with the disease by 2020.

The figure was released at a seminary held by the Ministry of Health and other related agencies on December 8 in Hanoi. At the seminar, medical experts fretted as 55 percent of cancer patients died of the disease after 12 months when they were diagnosed with cancer but faced financial difficulties.

According to the Ministry of Health’s evaluation, cancer is badly affecting the country’s society and economy  with more cases of cancer infections meanwhile it costs a big sum to treat the disease. Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen said that cancer infections are spiraling not only in the Southeast Asian country but many nations in the world.

According to the World Health Organization’s figure, there were 14.1 million fresh cancer cases and 8.2 million people succumbed to the disease in 2012. meantime, Vietnam had 68,810 new cancer infections in 2000, the figure increased to 126,307 cases in 2010 and an estimated cases of 190,000 will be in 2020.

She said that though hospitals for tumor and cancer treatment have expanded and upgraded for years, they can not meet the increased demand of patients.

The country has 6 big hospitals for tumor treatment and 50 specialized wards in hospitals in districts yet they are able to meet 70 percent of the demand. Worse, two leading hospitals including K hospital in Hanoi and Tumor Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City are always overloaded  though they have been expanded and built more satellite hospitals.

Cancer patients can not afford the cost of treatment which is a concern of medical workers. Dr. Mai Trong Khoa, deputy head of Bach Mai hospital said that the hospital’s survey showed that 34 percent of cancer patient have financial difficulties and not be able to buy medicine after 12 month diagnosis; 22 percent of them not be able to cover transport fee.

Another study carried out by an international organization on cancer treatment cost in Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam showed that 55 percent of cancer patients died 12 months after diagnosis or encountered financial difficulties.

Most of Vietnamese cancer patients are diagnosed in late stage of the disease with only 5 percent being diagnosed in the first stage and 19 percent in second stage. Around 70,000 Vietnamese cancer people have died of the disease annually.

Accordingly, the ministry, related agencies and international experts said that the country authority should act soon and conceive a plan to prevent the disease for long term. People’s awareness of the disease should be improved. The government needs to help families with health insurances.