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Rising stroke cases in Vietnam prompt need for improved pre-hospital care: experts

Rising stroke cases in Vietnam prompt need for improved pre-hospital care: experts

Monday, June 26, 2023, 16:37 GMT+7
Rising stroke cases in Vietnam prompt need for improved pre-hospital care: experts
A doctor tends to a stroke patient at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese healthcare professionals have expressed deep concerns as the incidence of stroke cases continues to rise steadily, yet the country’s existing pre-hospital emergency network remains underdeveloped, inadequate, and deficient.

The most recent data from the World Stroke Organization showed that a stroke occurs every three seconds, highlighting a concerning trend. 

Disturbingly, the risk of experiencing a stroke in one’s lifetime has increased to one in four adults, as opposed to the previous ratio of one to six.

According to Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Huy Thang, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Stroke Association, the aforementioned ratio indicates a deteriorating trend in stroke risk. 

In Vietnam, the annual number of stroke cases surpasses 200,000, as reported by the Ministry of Health.

However, Thang noted that the said figure is not the definitive total, as the 115 People’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City alone handles and treats approximately 20,000 stroke patients annually, while there are over 1,000 hospitals throughout the country.

Thang emphasized that in the event of a stroke, time becomes a critical factor as the patient loses approximately two million brain cells irreversibly within every passing minute.

Furthermore, Thang cautioned that stroke is no longer solely prevalent among the elderly population. 

Statistics reveal that in 2019, 63 percent of stroke cases affected younger people. 

Alarmingly, low-middle-income countries, including Vietnam, account for 89 percent of stroke-related fatalities and disabilities.

Therefore, the significance of pre-hospital emergency care to patients is escalating, and establishing an efficient pre-hospital emergency protocol is regarded as a needed objective to minimize the time taken for stroke patients to access the nearest medical facility.

However, the pre-hospital emergency network remains underdeveloped and deficient within the healthcare system, not only in Ho Chi Minh City but also across Vietnam, despite its inclusion in the Law on Examination and Treatment since early 2023, according to Major General Tran Quoc Viet, director of Military Hospital 175, located in the southern metropolis.

According to Dr. Nguyen Duy Long, director of the 115 Emergency Center in Ho Chi Minh City, only 11 out of Vietnam’s 63 provinces and cities currently possess independent 115 emergency centers, which operate separately from the hospital system.

Specifically, the pre-hospital emergency network in Ho Chi Minh City is still incapable of covering all of the stroke cases transported by ambulances dispatched from Long’s center.

Therefore, healthcare experts are urging the Ministry of Health and the government to provide assistance in terms of staffing organization, equipment, stroke training, and treatment protocols for doctors, nurses, and technicians involved in pre-hospital emergency services. 

This support is crucial to enhance the efficiency of caring for stroke patients in the pre-hospital setting.

For the time being, Military Hospital 175 has collaborated with the 115 Emergency Center in Ho Chi Minh City to provide pre-hospital stroke care within the city, according to Viet. 

This partnership has been authorized by the Ministry of National Defense and the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City.

Military Hospital 175 aims to continuously assist in expanding the network of stroke treatment coordination with nearby hospitals, with the objective of providing more stroke patients with the opportunity to receive life-saving and restorative care.

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Bao Anh - Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre News


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