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Risk assessment and prevention of chronic respiratory diseases in southern Vietnam

The team of Professor Olivier Michel (ULB and Head of Clinic “Immuno-Allergology”, Brugmann University Hospital), in collaboration with Professor TRAN Thi Mong Hiep (Pham Ngoc Thach University in Vietnam), has obtained funding from the Belgian development cooperation to implement their multidisciplinary project “Monitoring and reduction of chronic respiratory diseases” (2017-2022).

In Vietnam chronic respiratory diseases are often underestimated, insufficiently diagnosed and inefficiently treated. Because of demographic (including massive rural exodus), economic and social upheavals that the country is currently experiencing, chronic respiratory diseases are on the rise. The percentage of the population affected, is estimated at 10%.

These diseases represent a social and economic disaster for the country. The authorities are aware of the problem and place it high on the political agenda. Especially prevention and prompt treatment of the disease are a priority. On the initiative of the new Prime Minister a ten-year plan (2015-2025) has been established, inviting international actors to actively participate in it.

The project which aims to address chronic respiratory diseases, including capacity-building of Vietnamese university staff, focuses on the following actions:

  1. Development of an early detection methodology at the level of the health centers and district hospitals, causing mortality and morbidity rates to fall, which in turn will have positive consequences for the number of hospitalizations and consequently a lower financial cost for society;
  2. Development of more appropriate treatments for chronic respiratory disease, taking into account the Vietnamese context;
  3. Development of techniques that reduce pollution in residential homes;
  4. Study of the protective effects of intestinal parasitic infections on the risk for sensitivity and allergies;
  5. Dissemination and integration of the project’s operational outcomes in the country strategy.

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Risk assessment and prevention of chronic respiratory diseases in southern Vietnam