Healthy Lung Programme marks milestones

November 07, 2023 | 17:20
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A conference on healthy lung was held on November 3 to mark the sustainable collaboration between Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and AstraZeneca in enhancing the management quality for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The event drew the participation of medical experts from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Vietnamese Respiratory Society, the Vietnamese Lung Association, the Vietnamese Pediatric Association, the Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology Society of Ho Chi Minh City, and AstraZeneca Vietnam.

It was organised within the framework of the national scientific conference under the auspices of the Vietnamese Respiratory Society.

Healthy Lung Programme marks milestones
Experts at the conference on November 3

During the event, experts engaged in discussions on the programme's activities, focused on the development of healthcare infrastructure at the grassroots level, the enhancement of knowledge and capabilities of healthcare professionals, and empowering patients to access effective treatment and management strategies for asthma and COPD in the upcoming phase.

COPD is a progressive condition that causes breathing difficulties and severe complications, posing a threat to the lives of affected individuals.

Globally, it is estimated that there were 251 million cases of COPD in 2016, and IT ranked the third-leading cause of death worldwide. In Vietnam, COPD accounts for 7.1 per cent in males and 1.9 per cent in females aged 40 and above. This is primarily attributed to the prevailing environmental pollution, dust, and tobacco smoke, which continue to worsen.

A global health issue that has been on the rise over the years, asthma is a chronic respiratory inflammation affecting both adults and children. It is a non-communicable disease that affects approximately 4.4 per cent of the global population. According to the World Health Organization’s estimation, asthma contributes to an annual death toll of 461,000 cases worldwide.

In Vietnam alone, the prevalence of asthma is about 4.1 per cent of the population.

The Healthy Lung programme is a multinational initiative by AstraZeneca aimed at enhancing the quality of outpatient management for asthma and COPD in nine Asian countries. Vietnam is one of the first countries to implement this programme.

“We appreciate the valuable contributions created by AstraZeneca to community health and the healthcare sector in Vietnam, particularly the Healthy Lung programme over the past five years. Aligning with our vision, and with the collective efforts of all involved, I am certain that significant progress will be made and bring about substantial benefits for the people of Vietnam,” said Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the MoH’s Department of Medical Service Administration.

With the positive results achieved, the programme is expected to establish an additional 150 asthma and COPD outpatient clinics for adults and 50 standard asthma outpatient clinics for children in the next stage.

According to Prof. Ngo Quy Chau, chairman of the Vietnam Respiratory Association, the burden of bronchial asthma and COPD in Vietnam is the concern of the health sector in respiratory medicine. The prevalence rate of COPD is 4.2 per cent of the population over 40 years old, and the prevalence rate of bronchial asthma is 4.1 per cent of the Vietnamese population. Of these, only 29.1 per cent of asthma patients received preventive treatment and 39.7 per cent of patients had good disease control.

“Therefore, establishing standard asthma and COPD outpatient management rooms will help the grassroots health system manage patients better, thereby reducing hospitalisation exacerbations and reducing the medical load at higher levels. In addition, effective outpatient management of asthma patients also helps reduce the total cost of treatment per year per patient, helping to save the budget and society as a whole.”

At the event, the parties reached a consensus on the overall vision and shared the developmental direction of the Healthy Lung programme for the 2024-2026 phase. On this occasion, the programme also welcomed the Vietnamese Pediatric Association as a new member to take charge of managing asthma in children.

Nitin Kapoor, chairman and general director of AstraZeneca Vietnam said, “We are delighted and proud that the Healthy Lung programme has contributed to the establishment of over 150 standardised outpatient clinics for asthma and COPD across Vietnam, achieving our goals alongside the MoH and professional associations.”

“With our unwavering commitment to improving the health of Vietnamese people and supporting the sustainability of the healthcare system, AstraZeneca warmly welcomes the Vietnam Pediatric Association as a new member. We are eager to continue partnering with the associations to establish an additional 200 clinics nationwide, including 50 paediatric outpatient clinics for asthma, to make a lasting impact in the health and wellbeing of the younger generation and ensure a healthier, brighter future for Vietnam."

The Healthy Lung Programme phase 1 (2017-2020) was implemented in Vietnam within the framework of cooperation between AstraZeneca and specialised associations under the management of the Department of Medical Service Administration. In phase 2 (2021- 2023), the programme has been being expanded into the field of lung cancer and children’s asthma.

So far, the programme has reached and managed over 170,000 patients, supporting the establishment of more than 150 standardised outpatient clinics for asthma and COPD in 51 provinces and cities nationwide.

The programme has sponsored 186 spirometers and nebulisers for hospitals and medical centres, conducted training and scientific activities for 16,000 participating healthcare staff in hospitals, supported educational institutions in benefiting nearly 15,000 patients through patient club activities, and provided over 150,000 medical records.

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By Bich Thuy

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