She was speaking at a national scientific conference yesterday on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

The minister said the number of these diseases was still on the increase due to pollution, urbanisation and lifestyles.

Associate Professor Nguyễn Thị Xuyên, president of Việt Nam Medical Association, agreed, saying that non-communicable diseases caused as many as 73 per cent of annual deaths in Việt Nam. She added that up to 40 per cent of people died before the age of 70.

“Seven out of ten Vietnamese people contract non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, chronic pulmonary disease,” Xuyên said.

“On average there are about 12 million Vietnamese people with high blood pressure each year. Every year, nearly three million have to deal with diabetes. Two million contract cardiovascular diseases and chronic pulmonary disease - and there are nearly 120,000 new cancer infections,” she said.

Although the health sector has made efforts in controlling the illnesses, the increasing number of cases in Việt Nam is at an alarming level, according to Xuyên.

People are not aware of how to prevent the diseases. Forty five per cent of the male population smokes cigarettes, 77 per cent of the population drinks alcohol while the overweight and obesity level keeps rising.

Vietnamese use two times more salt than recommended by the World Health Organisation.

There are only a small number of cases of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases being diagnosed and treated.

To control and prevent non-communicable diseases, Việt Nam has launched a strategy for their prevention and control.

It has also begun a strategy to prevent and control cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and other non-communicable diseases.

By 2025, Việt Nam aims to have 70 per cent of adults equipped with knowledge about the impact of non-communicable diseases on their health.

It plans to reduce smoking in people aged 15 and older by 30 per cent compared with 2015, reducing its prevalence to less than 3.6 per cent. It also hopes to reduce salt intake by 30 per cent per adult per day compared with 2015.

Vietnam News - November 22, 2017