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At HCM City
Training in dengue-fever treatment for provincial doctors as ever-increasing cases

More doctors at hospitals in provinces and districts throughout the country will receive training courses o­n treatment of dengue fever, as the number of cases has increased since the end of May and overcrowding continues at city and central-level hospitals.


Dr Tran Dac Phu, head of Preventive Health Department under Ministry of Health, said that the number of cases of dengue fever was expected to rise. According to the department, 36,437 new cases of dengue fever have been recorded at 47 provinces and cities since early January, including 10 fatalities. Of the total, around 70 percent were in the southern region. Dr. Phu also said hospitals are likely to face high risk of cross-infections, and if the situation lasts, overloading in hospitals will become more severe.

According to the municipal Department of Health, Ho Chi Minh city recorded 9,141 dengue fever cases in the last two quarters, up 11 percent against the same period last year, with three fatalities. Along with the increase of diseases, overloading in hospitals also poses difficulties for the municipal health sector.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, the deputy head of Medical Examination and Treatment Department, said the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and two paediatrics hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City would provide further training to doctors at hospitals in the southern region. Khoa spoke at a recent meeting with the Ministry of Health's supervision team and the city's Department of Health as well as representatives of the city's Preventive Health Centre and hospitals.

A representative of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases reported that the number of patients with dengue fever at the hospital began to increase at the end of May. The hospital's infectious diseases department, for instance, treated 60 dengue fever inpatients in June, increasing from a monthly average of 40 compared to the last few months. The department does not have space for beds in its rooms and has put beds in hallways.

Meanwhile, according to HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No.1's report, new incidences of dengue fever rose in June to 297, increasing from 242 in May. Of the 297 patients with dengue fever, 140 were from other provinces. HCM City has opened o­ne more paediatrics hospital in its outlying district of Binh Chanh to reduce overcrowding at the existing paediatrics hospitals.

Dr Phan Trong Lan, head of the Pasteur Institute, said that 30-40 percent of patients at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and two paediatrics hospitals, which treat serious health problems, are from other provinces.

Khoa said the proportion of patients from provinces at the three hospitals should be reduced and that doctors at hospitals in provinces need better training. "Although training has been provided, doctors who have training are of retirement age while those who will replace them have not yet been trained, leading to ineffectiveness in treatment," Khoa said. "If doctors without experience in treating dengue fever do not detect signs early, some patients who are seriously ill could go into shock," he said.

Preventive measures

Phu said that new preventive measures would be applied to limit the increase of dengue fever cases. The Ministry of Health had set up nine supervision teams for dengue-fever prevention throughout the country, while preventive health officials in districts would offer counselling o­n improving cooperation to enhance effectiveness. "The community needs to learn more about the importance of clearing water containers which could be home to mosquito larvae," he added.

Dr Nguyen Huu Hung, deputy head of the city's Department of Health, said the city was using an IT database to compile data of new cases of dengue fever from health facilities. Information about these patients would be sent to districts so that preventive measures could be taken, such as spraying chemicals to destroy mosquitoes in certain areas. Several private health facilities in HCM City had reported new cases of dengue fever, Hung said.

The city had fined organisations and individuals who did not cleared away water containers after being told many times, he added. Last year, 76 cases were fined, and 46 have received fines this year.

According to a Preventive Health Centre report, the city has recorded 9,141 new incidences of dengue fever, an increase of 11 percent compared to the same period last year. Of these, three patients died. The districts of Binh Tan and 12 had the highest increase of incidences in June, with 115 percent and 74 percent respectively compared to June last year. A representative of District 12?s Preventive Health Division said that health officials had not yet identified the riskiest areas.




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