Vietnam develops effective treatment regimen for Covid-19: health official

Wednesday, 2020-02-19 17:21:46
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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Medical Examination and Treatment Management Department under the Ministry of Health. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)
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NDO – Vietnam has an effective treatment regimen for the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at all levels, so people can be assured of the work in both Covid-19 prevention and treatment, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue has said.

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The health official has granted Nhan Dan Online an interview while the country has been doing a good job in both prevention and treatment for Covid-19, with 13 out of 16 confirmed cases having been discharged, while the remaining three patients are in good health and will soon be released from the hospital. Also, no doctor in Vietnam has been infected with Covid-19 yet.

Q: Vietnam has successfully treated 13 Covid-19 positive cases, including a serious case with lung cancer. We also had success in implementing Covid-19 treatment at lower-level hospitals. Could you share Vietnam's experience in successfully treating these cases?

A: Right from the early days when there was information about the disease in China, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has promptly directed the health sector and relevant ministries and agencies to prevent and control Covid-19. In the field of medical examination and treatment, the health sector convened a professional council with leading experts. It can be said that in Vietnam, professional guidelines for disease prevention are often developed very quickly.

We see that the new coronavirus disease has some characteristics like SARS and emerging diseases, so Vietnam updated treatment guidelines right from the days before the Lunar New Year.

After that, Vietnam has continued to train medical staff on implementing treatment guidelines. Immediately after curing three patients, who were discharged from Cho Ray Hospital, Khanh Hoa Province’s Hospital of Tropical Diseases and Thanh Hoa Provincial Hospital, we updated the treatment regimen again, giving specific treatment strategies during initial reception, isolating patients and using the most effective drugs, fluids and emergency equipment for critical patients. We are always ahead of the recommendations given by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In the past four days, no new positive cases have been found in Vietnam. On February 18, the last two patients at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases – the highest division for Covid-19 treatment in the northern region – were discharged. Two other patients who were treated at lower level in the Quang Ha Regional Clinic in Binh Xuyen District, Vinh Phuc Province, were also discharged.

The Vietnamese-American patient being treated at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City showed negative results twice and is also soon to be discharged. A three-month-old baby being actively treated at the National Hospital of Paediatrics has no fever nor cough and is now in a stable health condition with the first medical test result showing negative. If the next tests are negative, following the current treatment regimen, the baby will be discharged soon.

Q: The current delegation of treatment is still effective in combating the Covid-19 epidemic. How does Vietnam prepare treatment scenarios to deal with Covid-19?

A: The Ministry of Health (MoH) continues to decentralise treatment for Covid-19. Patients with clement symptoms will be kept in the provincial hospitals for treatment. Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa Provinces have kept Covid-19 patients in their local hospitals, and they succeeded in curing them. Therefore, we do not need to receive all patients with Covid-19 in large centres.

In addition to the on-site treatment, the support from doctors at the central level will help provincial and district level facilities in meeting the treatment requirements for patients. The current division of treatment for Covid-19 patients at the Ministry of Health-run hospitals is reasonable and effective, so people can be assured of disease prevention.

Q: WHO predicts that the Covid-19 outbreak may be prolonged. While there is no specific treatment or vaccine, how does Vietnam need to improve the response and treatment at all levels?

A: Among the 16 Covid-19 confirmed cases in Vietnam, it can be said that their health is stable and progressing well. None of them have progressed severely and Vietnam has not recorded any fatalities yet. Meanwhile, even in modern countries like Japan and France, deaths have been reported. This result is sourced from the drastic direction from the Government and authorities at all levels, as well as the involvement of physicians, the cooperation from patients and the efforts from people during the isolation and implementation of treatment solutions.

Currently, the 16 patients with Covid-19 in Vietnam are in all genders and ages, with some even suffering from blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or lung cancer. We are continuing to synthesise data on epidemiology and treatment results to continue to update the treatment regimen for patients in the near future.

Q: Those who were cured and discharged are really safe. How will the health sector help these patients so they do not suffer from community stigma?

A: Patients who were discharged from the hospital are just discharged from the clinical disease, but on psychological and physical manner, they still need to be monitored, cared for and encouraged.

Therefore, we direct the medical facilities in Khanh Hoa and Thanh Hoa to care for those who have been released from the hospital and avoid discrimination. The monitoring is extremely necessary in this period as we still have complete control of the epidemic.

Q: Doctors are always faced with the risk of being likely to be infected from patients. What do you share with the physicians about their sacrifices against the epidemic?

A: With dangerous epidemics like Covid-19, which has been declared a global emergency by WHO with thousands of people still infected, it is clear that physicians at any level having contact with patients are in danger. In China, hundreds of have been infected and several doctors have died from Covid-19. In Vietnam, up to now, there has been no case of medical staff infected with the new strain of coronavirus.

All physicians involved in this work are not doing it for personal benefit but for the patients’ health. Doctors at all levels have done their best for the health of the people. We appreciate their efforts and dedication.