Improving public health for sustainable development

NDO – Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely by the absence of disease or infirmity. The extension of the benefits of medical, psychological and related knowledge to all of the people is essential to the fullest attainment of health. The health of every citizen is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest cooperation of individuals and States.

The Prime Minister has issued a national action plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted at the UN Summit in New York, the US, in September, 2016. Vietnam has set 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030, including promoting poverty reduction and gender equality, educational reform, infrastructure development, industrialisation, urban and rural development, ensuring food security and increasing social welfare for people of all ages.

Notably, of the 17 sustainable development goals, there is only one direct goal in the field of healthcare, but all other goals are regarded as being related to health. Thus, the health of every citizen is the goal and the decisive factor for achieving sustainable development.

According to experts, in order to improve the public’s health, Vietnam needs to devise public policy on health development; create a favourable environment; mobilise and promote the participation and action of the whole community; develop personal skills and reorient people-centred healthcare services.

It can be seen that, over the past few years, Vietnam has obtained many achievements in improving public healthcare, such as increasing the life expectancy of the people and achieving a number of the millennium development goals. However, the country is also facing more and more challenges, such as an aging population, the negative impacts of urbanisation and changes in lifestyles and the environment that are confronting people with the double burden of disease (infectious disease and non-communicable disease).

Non-communicable diseases, mainly cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, etc., account for 66% of the total burden of disease and 73% of deaths annually. Meanwhile, the health system has not fully improved towards the prevention and control of chronic diseases in addition to the lack of health management services and community health monitoring and a lack of early detection and disease management services at grassroots level. Besides, the living environment in many places is polluted by waste and production and economic development activities, which have directly affected people’s health. The awareness of health, personal hygiene, and environmental sanitation is limited, while healthy practises have not been regularly implemented, leading to the risk of outbreak of infectious diseases.

In order to contribute to improving people’s health and successfully achieving the goal of sustainable development, it is necessary to have a comprehensive programme with a long-term orientation. The overall programme should aim to raise the awareness and practice of each citizen in order to perform healthy practises. The community and authorities at all levels should actively devise plans and direct the implementation of health objectives, in each locality, on the basis of national health objectives. It is necessary to intensify participation and interdisciplinary collaboration in order to build a healthy environment that reduces the risk of harm to the health of the public and the community, to ensure that the health of all citizens is managed and continuously monitored for better prevention, early detection and treatment, as well as comprehensive and effective healthcare.

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