The economy of Vietnam has shown strong growth in the last two decades and living conditions and health care have generally improved. But these positive developments mainly took place in the large urban areas of the two river deltas and still lag behind in the more remote highland and mountainous provinces.
The profile of leprosy in Vietnam has also changed significantly in the last two decades. After the introduction of MDT in the early eighties and with firm support of the government, ILEP members and other INGOs, the number of new cases has decreased sharply and the way society views leprosy has improved dramatically. At present Vietnam can be seen as a low-endemic country where leprosy ‘as a disease’ is gradually becoming rare and with hardly any remaining public stigma.
Notwithstanding this good progress still much work lays ahead in sustaining the best possible leprosy services in these low-endemic circumstances, to further reduce the still high rate of reactions in patients under treatment, and to ensure proper rehabilitation care for the relatively large number of people who have remained with permanent disabilities after their cure from the disease, including social and socioeconomic rehabilitation.
- Trends in the epidemiology of leprosy – Vietnam, 1983-2006 – WHO – Weekly Epidemiological Record No. 24, 2008, 83, 217-224
- Leprosy situation in Vietnam – reduced burden of stigma; Bang P, Suzuki K, Ishii N, Khang T; Japanese Journal of Leprosy; Vol. 2008 Feb, 77, 29-36
- Annual situation reports – Netherlands Leprosy Relief – Vietnam