Vietnam has to date successfully treated all 16 cases of the acute respiratory disease caused by the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19).
Although there is no specific drug that kills the virus, Vietnam has developed an effective treatment plan for coronavirus patients
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health and deputy head of the Treatment Sub-Committee at the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control talks about the issue.
Early treatment guidelines
With efforts of doctors, all 16 patients have been successfully treated. What are your assessments of the success?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: All 16 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital and successfully treated. This is a milestone. We have followed the directions of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, ministries and sectors.
Especially, our current treatment regime applied has proved to be working. Physicians’ efforts make patients feel comfortable and confident. The World Health Organisation highly appreciates Vietnam’s work.
Do the discharged patients need to be further monitored?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: Vietnam currently records only 16 patients of COVID-19, and we have made many scenarios.
In terms of psychology and body, patients who were discharged from hospital still need to be monitored, cared and encouraged by medical workers. Therefore, the health system from central and grassroots levels in Vietnam is now being closely coordinated.
We steer medical facilities in Khanh Hoa, Thanh Hoa and Vinh Phuc provinces to pay attention to the discharged patients in order to avoid stigma. So, it is right for the management of medical monitoring in the current period when we control the epidemic in Vietnam.
Could you share experience in successfully treating COVID-19 infection cases in Vietnam?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: Right after getting information of this outbreak in China, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has directed drastically the health sector and related ministries.
Then, the medical examination and treatment system’s professional council was immediately convened. Fact showed that professional guidelines on epidemics in Vietnam are often developed very early. We held a meeting of professional council with leading professors to develop and update guidelines for early treatment.
We got updated treatment guidelines right from the days before Tet. Then we organised training and carried out the guidelines in hospitals.
After the first three patients were discharged from Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital, Khanh Hoa Tropical Hospital in the central province of Khanh Hoa and General Hospital in Thanh Hoa Province, we continued to update the treatment regimen one more time to provide specific treatment strategies, from instructions on initial reception, patient quarantine to use of drugs and fluids as well as necessary emergency equipment for critically-ill patients.
Ahead of WHO recommendations
So we have followed recommendations of the World Health Organisation?
Association Professor Luong Ngoc Khue:
It can be said that dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic, we got ahead of WHO recommendations. So far, there have been no new infection cases in Vietnam.
Currently, all 16 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals and there has been no death. This is the outcome through the Government’s drastic direction, physicians’ efforts, patients’ cooperation and people’s consensus from the initial quarantine for treatment to the synchronous implementation of solutions in treatment.
There are full examples of COVID-19 infections in Vietnam, such as male and female patients; elderly and child patients, and those with underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and lung cancer.
We are continuing to gather data on epidemiology, clinical treatment and treatment results to update the treatment regimen in the near future.
In COVID-19 prevention and treatment, how does Vietnam prepare measures to cope with and treat at levels?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: The Ministry of Health has also prepared preventive measures to deal with the virus in hospitals at all levels.
Patients with symptoms not considered severe will be treated at provincial-level hospitals. In fact, patients were treated successfully in Thanh Hoa, Khanh Hoa. Therefore, we do not need to transfer COVID-19 patients to higher-level facilities.
With the four on-the-spot measures and the help of central-level doctors, provincial and district-level facilities are capable of treating patients.
Sources of the disease isolated
For the COVID-19 epidemic, many opinions said that if the quarantine of patients and people at risk of infection is well performed, the outbreak will be brought under control. Could you tell me more about the issue?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: For infectious diseases, quarantine is the first principle, and the measure is same for the epidemic. When accepting patients or suspected cases, hospitals must strictly comply with the principles of quarantine issued by the Ministry of Health.
To ensure professional quality and safety for patients, medical workers and the community, the Ministry of Health has issued documents to direct directors of the departments of health, hospitals and medical facilities to pay close attention to the quarantine and management of patients.
The source of COVID-19 is easy to be spread, especially through respiratory transmission. The recent lesson from China shows that many doctors were infected the disease. Therefore, the goal of the Ministry of Health is to strive to prevent the sources of the disease from spreading to medical workers and to the community from hospitals.
We had a drastic direction. In particular, the quarantine needs close coordination with state management agencies, police and local authorities.
Quarantine work must be divided into three areas. The first is for suspected people, the second is for those infected but in good health, and the final is for the patients with severe symptoms. All these areas must strictly follow the ministry’s criteria on biosafety and infection control.
In the epidemic prevention and control work, as those who directly treat patients and have closest contact with the sources of the disease, medical workers are always at risk of infecting the disease from patients, can you share something about the sacrifice?
Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue: With the dangerous epidemic like COVID-19 which the World Health Organisation has had to declare a global emergency and China saw hundreds of deaths and thousands of new infections every day, it is obviously it is an emergency epidemic in accordance with the Law on prevention and control of infections diseases in Group A.
According to information from China, thousands of medial workers have infected and many of them have died. There has been no medical worker infected with COVID-19 in Vietnam so far.
As a management agency, we appreciate all physicians who are involved in the prevention and control of the disease. They have sacrificed their personal benefits to serve patients, from medical staff at the central level to those in Binh Xuyen. The Ministry of Health has also provided the most necessary protective equipment for them to protect themselves against the disease.
- Thank you very much!