Health & Life Sciences Update: May 10, 2019

Health & Life Sciences Update | May 10, 2019
Authors: Shay Wester, Sunita Kapoor and Hai Pham
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
USABC-EWEC Content Submission
As part of the Council's commitment to the UN's Every Woman Every Child (EWEC), we will be creating a website that highlights the work our members are doing in ASEAN focused on maternal and child health. In the first phase, we will be collecting submissions from members - these can be any past, present or future programs. We are currently building a submission template and will send a call-for-input to members soon. Interested members are encouraged to contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org for more information on how to participate.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Malaysia To Regulate Drug Prices
Last week, the Government of Malaysia’s Minister of Health Dzulkefly Ahmad said at a press conference that the Cabinet approved the regulation of domestic drug prices in Malaysia and noted that the Health Ministry will work in conjunction with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), which has jurisdiction over price controls, on such regulations under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act.

During the address, Minister Dzulkefly admitted that the private sector will not be happy and noted that the Health Ministry has yet to decide when the drug price controls will be finalized. Currently, the Ministry has indicated it wants to open another round of consultations with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss specifics details of plan to implement price controls. To determine the ceiling prices of certain drugs in Malaysia, the Ministry plans to use external reference pricing to benchmark medicine prices against cheaper drug prices in other countries (yet to be determined) and keep local prices under this benchmark. Specifically, the Minister said the local price will be derived from the average of the three lowest reference prices and then imposed at two points, wholesale and retail.

While the objective of the Government of Malaysia in regulating drug prices is to expand access to medicines by more Malaysian citizens, such price control measures, if implemented, tends to also discourage innovation and introduction of newer drugs into the market. In every IPR sensitive industry where the resources of innovative companies are used to invest in innovative products, policies which can restrict the ROI potential of a company’s product become a strong disincentive for investment and are likely to impact future trade and investment in Malaysia by multinational health and life sciences companies. The Council will continue to track the development of this regulation and will keep members updated on opportunities to advocate with the GOM on the potential impacts on various stakeholders of implementing price controls. 

Philippines National Budget 2019 – Healthcare Fiscal Allocation
On April 16, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law (Republic Act 11260) the 2019 national budget of the Philippines. The P3.7 trillion or US $72 billion national budget was ratified by the Congress in February and approved by the Senate in late March. This budget is the first “cash-based” budget of the Duterte Administration. The three main areas of focus of the budget are: Infrastructure; human development; and peace and security.

Health, which combines the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), received an allocation of P141.4 billion or US $2.72 billion. This budget will enable the government to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to Filipinos. While the overall budget has increased, the health allocation is 8.9 percent lower than last year’s budget due to a significant cut in the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), to give way to fast-moving and implementation-ready projects given the cash-based budgeting system the DBM is implementing

Health Budget Allocations:

  • P67.4 billion for PHIC to fund the National Health Insurance Program.
  • P15.2 billion for the purchase of drugs, medicines, vaccines and medical and laboratory supplies for the various healthcare facilities around the country.
  • P8.0 billion for the full immunization of 2.8 million children.
  • P3.0 billion for the prevention, control and eradication of infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, among others.
 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
Indonesia Compulsory Licensing Regulation
The Council recently joined a multi-association (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Amcham-Jakarta, American Indonesia Chamber of Commerce) letter to the Government of Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights regarding the draft IRR’s for the Compulsory Licenses regulation (Ministerial Reg. No 39). The letter proposed amendments to the regulation because some of the provisions could undermine IPR protections in Indonesia. The recommended changes focused on: (1) mitigating the WTO Inconsistencies of the Patent Law and the Implementing Regulation (Reg. No. 39); (2) providing clarity and ensuring due process in the compulsory license process; and (3) ensuring the administrative efficiency of the process. For more information, please contact Angga Antagia at aantagia@usasean.org and Steven Gunawan at sgunawan@usasean.org.
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Health and Safety Week Closing Ceremony
Safe working culture promoted during JKR Safety and Health Week
Over 95pc children immunised in Brunei: Health Minister
Healthy Mukim Programme & World Physical Activity Day Celebration
Health Awareness Programme
Funding boost for two MoH health programmes
Health Stocks Take $28 Billion Beating In Medicare-For-All Fight
Health symposium to be held on April 28

Cambodia
Minister of Health Meets UN Human Rights Expert
Cambodia’s Health Volunteers Tackle Malaria Head-on - Cambodia

Indonesia
Higher milk consumption could help curb stunting: Experts
Ministry guarantees healthcare service amid suspension
Govt goes traditional to boost health tourism
Innovation to boost health device output
Bali pushes for greater share of global health tourism
Health centers gear up for post-election stress, depression

Laos
Over 20 Million Children Miss Out On Measles Vaccine Annually, Creating A Pathway To Current Global Outbreaks - UNICEF
LFND, UNICEF Join Hands To Improve Situation Of Vulnerable Children
People In Phongsaly Benefit From EU/UNICEF Nutrition Programme

Malaysia
Health Ministry Earns Plaudits For Smoking Ban In Eateries
Putrajaya urged to transfer authority over health and education to Sarawak, says Dr Sim
Inspections to be conducted on all rural, health clinics - Johor Health Exco
Health Minister calls for discussions on proposal for dispensing separation
Medical tourism experiencing growth in Sarawak
MOH: Malaysia on track to meet 2020 zero malaria target
Eventful year for Health Ministry under new govt
Cabinet approves drug price controls
MOH to discuss proposal on mandatory immunisation on May 8
Health card for B40 group

Myanmar
Hospital steps up efforts to help blood disorder patients
Health care just a click away
Number of inpatients at govt hospitals grows by a million
Tuberculosis cases cut by more than half in a decade

Philippines
Hospital offers safer, less invasive heart procedure
Health workers’ day
UNICEF: PH immunization coverage dropping at alarming rate
DoH sets up mental health crisis hotline
JV thanks Duterte for improving health facilities
PhilHealth to introduce special benefits for PWDs
‘Universal Health Care should be complemented with facilities, equipment’
Healthcare law to address lack of doctors — Ejercito 

Singapore
Lam Pin Min on HSA’s strict standards and rigorous approval process for new drugs
HSA’s recall of high blood pressure drugs: More than half of affected patients have switched to alternative medicines
MedAdvisor, Zuellig Pharma in Singapore-based JV to market medication management solutions
US medtech firm opens instrument manufacturing facility in Singapore
500,000 senior citizens to get Merdeka Generation Package eligibility letters this week
Break down silos between private and public healthcare
83 healthcare professionals, caregivers and volunteers receive Healthcare Humanity Awards
What can the US health system learn from Singapore?
Paradigm shift needed for sustainable healthcare
Returning Singapore to the global stage of semiconductor production

Thailand
Healthcare development focus of MoU between Assumption U and Principal Capital
BDMS awarded for medical tourism for fourth year
Smart hospital uses AI to cut long waits
Private hospitals ‘may have to pay’
Private hospitals seek court halt on price controls
New policy ‘will hurt healthcare sector’
Novel R&D ministry 80% ready
Imports of 3 pesticides to be cut in half
Medical marijuana move ‘not enough’

Vietnam
Drastic measures needed to curb increase of non-communicable diseases
Insurance SMS service to provide better access to information: VSS
Medical service fees adjusted in Hà Nội
HCMC Oncology Hospital now using AI for treatment
Free biochemical tests and X-rays to be offered once a year: Ministry
Hà Nội tightens control over medical waste
Health ministry works to increase immunisation coverage
EU programme improves health care for mothers and children in Việt Nam
NA Vice Chairwoman lauds WHO’s efforts in public health care
Immunization and preventive health in Vietnam
Improved healthcare services attract more foreign patients
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV officially launched in Hanoi
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Health and Safety Week Closing Ceremony BruDirect 1st May 2019
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the best practise in beginning the step in balancing the body towards optimum health. The matter was shared in the talk entitled "Manfaat Berpuasa Untuk Kesihatan" or Benefits of Fasting for Health during the Closing Ceremony of the Health and Safety Week, MKK, Public Works Department. Present was Awang Haji Marzuke Bin Haji Mohsin, Deputy Minister of Development. Doctor Andas Haji Ismuhadi bin Haji Abdullah, Lecturer at the Islamic Da'wah Centre in the talk stressed on fasting being able to act as a starting point for those wishing to shape a balanced and healthy diet through strict discipline. He added that the health benefits from fasting itself will be jeopardised if the eating habits and appetite is not properly controlled

Safe working culture promoted during JKR Safety and Health Week Borneo Bulletin Online 30th Apr 2019
SEVERAL seminars, exhibitions and activities to promote safe and healthy work practices and to enhance knowledge and share best practices on workplace safety, particularly in the construction industry, are being held as part of the Public Works Department’s (JKR) Safety and Health Week 2019, which will come to a close today. The activities and exhibitions, open to the public, are being participated by departments under the JKR, safety equipment suppliers, safety training providers and related government agencies.

Over 95pc children immunised in Brunei: Health Minister Borneo Bulletin Online 30th Apr 2019
BRUNEI Darussalam has achieved and maintained a child immunisation coverage rate of more than 95 per cent per year, a result of its National Childhood Immunisation Programme for children aged zero to five years. The programme, provided at every clinic and health centre in the country, is one of the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) initiatives to increase access to immunisation for residents in the country – particularly infants and children – and to help Brunei achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and universal health coverage (UHC). Delivering a message to mark World Immunisation Week 2019 recently, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar added that the figure means that Brunei has achieved the target for the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Healthy Mukim Programme & World Physical Activity Day Celebration BruDirect 22nd Apr 2019
​Towards empowering a continuous healthy lifestyle, the Ministry of Health through the Health Promotion Centre with the cooperation of the Mukim Bangar Consultative Council yesterday morning held a Healthy Mukim for Mukim Bangar, Temburong Programme and World Physical Activity Day Celebration 2019. The event took place at the Bumiputera Commercial Complex in Bangar Town. The event was launched by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, the Minister of Health. In the programme, the Minister of Health presented Health Ambassador and Physical Activity Ambassador Certificates. Various activities were lined up throughout the programme such as cycling, walkathon and health exhibition. One of the Health Promotion Centre's initiatives is the Second Health Programme which aims to empower the local community to practice a continuous healthy lifestyle through the relevant health activities and programmes. The Ministry hopes the activity will not only foster better relations among the residents but also cooperation between the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organisations, the private sector as well as the public to further reinforce commitments in nurturing a healthy lifestyle in daily life.

Health Awareness Programme BruDirect 20th Apr 2019
More than 40 students including parents from the Pengiran Anak Puteri Mutawakillah Hayatul Bolkiah Religious School in Kampung Serusop made a visit to Supa Save in Beribi, Gadong yesterday MORNING for the health awareness programme, in conjunction with World Diabetes Day. The visit aimed to guide students and parents in choosing healthy food and drinks. They were also briefed on the healthy choice logo, food portion measurement and how to read food and drink labels for sugar, salt and fat contents. The visit was jointly-organised by the Ministry of Health through the Health Promotion Centre and the Islamic Studies Department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Funding boost for two MoH health programmes Borneo Bulletin Online 19th Apr 2019
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a collaborative venture with Gleneagles JPMC Sdn Bhd yesterday at the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Signing the agreement on behalf of the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif.

Health Stocks Take $28 Billion Beating In Medicare-For-All Fight BruDirect 18th Apr 2019
On Tuesday, UnitedHealth Group Inc. -- treated by investors as a bellwether for the insurance sector -- waded into the debate over Medicare for All, which would expand government-administered coverage to most of the population and rewrite the businesses of U.S. health insurers, hospitals and doctors. While it’s a longshot to become law despite the backing of some contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, the proposal has the power to upend company stock prices. Together, the shares of hospitals and insurers lost $28 billion in market value Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The losses capped the worst five-day stretch since 2011 for health insurers, despite UnitedHealth reporting earnings that beat analysts’ estimates and raising its 2019 forecast.

Health symposium to be held on April 28 Borneo Bulletin 17th Apr 2019
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that a health symposium titled ‘Antara Hati & Usus’ will take place at the multipurpose hall on the second floor of the Ministry of Finance and Economy on April 28. The symposium will be open to the public, free-of-charge. Two speakers from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital and one speaker from the Department of Health Services will be featured. Consultant and Head of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at RIPAS Hospital Dr Hajah Dewi Norwani binti Haji Basir will speak on the topic of ‘Fatty Liver Disease’, while Consultant at the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit of RIPAS Hospital Dr Aza Zetty Feroena binti Jamaludin will cover the topic, ‘Colorectal Cancer’. Nutrition Officer of the Community Nutrition Unit, Department of Health Services Nur Ainiedza binti Haji Idris will speak on ‘Nutrition for Liver and Intestinal Health’. A question-and-answer session and a health exhibition will also be held.

Cambodia

Minister of Health Meets UN Human Rights Expert AKP 7th May 2019
Cambodia's Minister of Health H.E. Mam Bunheng (R, Pic. 1) greets visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Ms. Rhona Smith, prior to their working meeting at the ministry office in Phnom Penh this morning.

Cambodia’s Health Volunteers Tackle Malaria Head-on - Cambodia ReliefWeb 24th Apr 2019
Cambodia’s northeast is home to many different ethnic groups and cultures. Its resource-rich and sparsely populated forests also attract many migrants from other parts of the country looking for means of livelihood. The forests are also hotbeds for mosquitoes, making those living and working here the most at risk group of catching malaria. These populations are often isolated from health services and can be extremely difficult to access, which makes eliminating the disease extremely challenging. Working closely with communities is crucial in the fight against malaria and local volunteers are being trained to test and treat the disease on the spot.

Indonesia

Higher milk consumption could help curb stunting: Experts The Jakarta Post 8th May 2019
As Indonesia continues its fight against stunting, experts say increasing milk consumption could be a solution for tackling the country's persisting malnutrition problem. The prevalence of stunting in Indonesia's child population remains high, although it saw a decrease to 30.8 percent in 2018 from 37.2 percent in 2013, according to the Health Ministry's 2018 Basic Health Research (Riskesdas). Still, the figure is higher than the 20 percent standard of the World Health Organization (WHO). The government aims to further reduce the prevalence of stunted children to 28 percent this year. Ahmad Syafiq, who heads the University of Indonesia's Center for Nutrition and Health Studies, said the government should focus on animal protein intake to curb childhood stunting.

Ministry guarantees healthcare service amid suspension The Jakarta Post 7th May 2019
The recent decision of the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) to suspend collaboration with hundreds of hospitals that have not renewed their accreditation has raised concerns particularly among patients and triggered complaints from hospital managements. In the past week, hospitals in several regions have announced that they would suspend services for BPJS Kesehatan card holder patients due to the policy. However, after a brief meeting on Tuesday morning, the Health Ministry has decided to cancel the initial plan and made some compromises.

Govt goes traditional to boost health tourism The Jakarta Post 4th May 2019
“What symptoms do we want to relieve today?” traditional healing guru Wayan Sukeria asks dozens of participants gazing before him. After a few seconds, the crowd murmurs and Wayan Sukeria picks out the loudest answers echoing in the cottage on the hillside of Kintamani, Bali. “Migraine, it is!” he declares. “I have tried acupressure myself and felt its benefits. Now it’s your turn to try.” Under Bali’s technical management unit (UPTD) for traditional medicine, Wayan has been teaching various alternative healing methods all over Indonesia to his clients, including acupressure -- a technique based on physical pressure applied throughout specific parts of the body to alleviate some degrees of pain.

Innovation to boost health device output The Jakarta Post 26th Apr 2019
Health Minister Nila Farid Moeloek has called for the greater production of health devices amid a further increase in imports of medical equipment and raw materials for the production of medicine.The ambition was expressed on Tuesday when state-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma launched its rapid test strips, a device made of paper that helps doctors quickly identify illnesses through blood or urine.On Tuesday, the company started distributing test strips for Hepatitis B and pregnancy at its outlets. It aims to make similar test products such as for malaria, dengue fever and syphilis.“I am very proud of these findings,” Nila said at the launch in Denpasar, Bali. “But let’s push for more [innovations], especially for diseases like dengue fever and malaria that are a national concern.

Bali pushes for greater share of global health tourism The Jakarta Post 23rd Apr 2019
The Bali administration is looking to further develop health tourism with regulations and networks to support the industry. "[Efforts to promote] health tourism are already underway, but most [of the efforts] are scattered around, without any proper network," Bali Health Agency head Ketut Suarjaya said Tuesday. Ketut pointed out that Bali had around 3,200 traditional wellness centers, such as herbal medicine practices and spas. However, only 10 percent of the centers were considered to be in compliance with the administration's standards. Ketut said the administration expected to further enforce its standards to regulate the industry through a bylaw that was expected to be finalized this year.

Health centers gear up for post-election stress, depression The Jakarta Post 17th Apr 2019
The national health agency and medical facilities are bracing for a rise in cases of post-election stress among legislative candidates, particularly those who are defeated at today's polls.  The latest to join the ranks is the Karawang Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) in West Java. The head of the Karawang agency, Unting Patri Wicaksono Pribadi, said it would bear the costs for treating legislative candidates, if necessary. “Don’t worry, legislative candidates, if you become depressed because you fail in the election. We will settle your [medical bills] until you [have recovered],” Unting told kompas.com on Tuesday. He added that BPJS Kesehatan Karawang would even reimburse the candidates if they were to mental health hospitals, as long as they were registered and had paid their monthly premiums. The 2014 ministerial regulation on national health insurance standard premiums states that BPJS Kesehatan covers treatments for depression, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental disorders under the state-funded National Health Insurance-Healthy Indonesia Card (JKN-KIS).

Laos

Over 20 Million Children Miss Out On Measles Vaccine Annually, Creating A Pathway To Current Global Outbreaks - UNICEF KPL Lao News Agency 2nd May 2019
An estimated 169 million children missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, or 21.1 million children a year on average, UNICEF said on Apr 26. In East Asia and Pacific region, nearly 28 million children in 2017 were vaccinated against measles, however, more than 2 million children missed out in the same year. This has been the pattern every year for the past 2-3 years, making children in the region more vulnerable to measles outbreaks. In the Lao PDR, the Ministry of Health estimates that 350,153 children missed out on the first dose between 2010 and 2017, a yearly average of 43,769 children. Widening pockets of unvaccinated children have created a pathway to the measles outbreaks hitting several countries around the world today.

LFND, UNICEF Join Hands To Improve Situation Of Vulnerable Children KPL Lao News Agency 30th Apr 2019
The Lao Front for National Development (LFND) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have organized a workshop on improving situation of vulnerable children. President of the Lao Front for National Development (LFND) Saysomphone Phomvihane and UNICEF Representative Octavian Bivol have participated a 2-day (April 24-26, 2019) workshop in Savannakhet for more than 70 LFND officials on children-related issues, with a focus on immunization. They took this opportunity to highlight the importance of increasing efforts to address the challenges that children in remote areas face, particularly those who belong to ethnic minorities.

People In Phongsaly Benefit From EU/UNICEF Nutrition Programme KPL Lao News Agency 23rd Apr 2019
The European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Leo Faber, and UNICEF Representative, Octavian Bivol successfully completed a four-day visit to Phongsaly province to observe nutrition interventions under the Partnership for Improved Nutrition (PIN). After arriving in Boun Neua district in the evening of April 8, 2019, the team met with Mr Thongsy Saosouliphom, Vice Governor of Phongsaly province, and Department Directors to explain the purpose of the visit and the priorities of the EU-UNICEF support under PIN to Phongsaly Province.

Malaysia

Health Ministry Earns Plaudits For Smoking Ban In Eateries Bernama 8th May 2019
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad became a household name in October last year following his ministry's announcement that smoking will be banned in all eateries, including open-air hawker centres, beginning Jan 1, 2019. While non-smokers were jubilant, the news caused consternation amongst smokers who wasted no time in criticising the ministry's decision. Despite the objections from smokers and restaurant operators, Dr Dzulkefly stood his ground and asserted that the decision was made with public interest in mind. In fact, the minister was reportedly told that the no-smoking policy may cost him some votes during the Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) elections, due in June this year. "It's okay. I’d rather lose some votes than compromise on people’s health,” the Amanah strategic director was quoted as saying.

Putrajaya urged to transfer authority over health and education to Sarawak, says Dr Sim Malay Mail 7th May 2019
Sarawak has asked the federal government for an order from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to transfer executive functions over health and education to the state, the state’s Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said today. He said the request was presented to the federal government through the Special Cabinet Steering Committee on implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and its Technical Committee.

Inspections to be conducted on all rural, health clinics - Johor Health Exco Bernama 7th May 2019
The Johor government will conduct checks on all rural clinics and health clinics in the state to ensure the premises providing services to the people are in good condition and safe. State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said for a start electrical wiring inspections would be conducted to ensure that no clinics are at risk of untoward incidents occurring. Previously, there were clinics which were over 30 years old and there was no maintenance on electrical wiring which may no longer be suitable for use today, as there are a number of appliances that use a lot of electricity. “We will conduct detailed inspections if the clinics require new wiring, at the same time request each clinic management to state the electrical wiring requirements which needs to be upgraded.

Health Minister calls for discussions on proposal for dispensing separation Bernama 7th May 2019
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad today called for thorough discussions and studies on the proposal for the separation of prescribing and dispensing in the country. Although dispensing separation is seen as important, it has to be implemented after taking into account patient suitability, interest and need, he said. “On the separation of the functions of the clinic and pharmacy, we are now talking to the two sides. I have emphasised the importance of patient-centric care or patient-centered methodology, and it must be patient-based.

Medical tourism experiencing growth in Sarawak Bernama 7th May 2019
The medical tourism sector in Sarawak is experiencing growth and bringing economic benefits, said State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. He said health tourism had also provided lucrative opportunities to the local private hospitals and medical professionals. “In 2018, Sarawak recorded 48,900 healthcare visitors who came to Sarawak for health screening and medical treatment with total receipts of RM67.10 million. “The majority of the healthcare visitors were from Pontianak and Jakarta, Indonesia,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly sitting here today.

MOH: Malaysia on track to meet 2020 zero malaria target Bernama 5th May 2019
The Health Ministry (MOH) has targetted Malaysia to be declared a human indigenous malaria free nation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) by 2020. Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said to achieve this, Malaysia must show commitment in our efforts to maintain ‘zero human indigenous malaria’ status for three consecutive years. “The Ministry is now actively getting our health teams ready at all levels for WHO's Certification of Malaria Elimination audit process, in which Malaysia's Malaria Elimination Programme has seen success in the reduction of cases. “With the Malaria Elimination Programme in place, we have successfully combated Malaria, from 4,164 cases in 2011 to zero cases last year.

Eventful year for Health Ministry under new govt Bernama 3rd May 2019
The PeKa B40, a healthcare protection scheme for the low-income B40 group, management of “sick” projects and the initiative for price control on medicines were among the achievements of the Health Ministry under the Pakatan Harapan government in it’s first year in office. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said another big accomplishment was the formation of the Health Advisory Council (HAC), which aims to strengthen public-private collaboration in health care. In a recent press conference in conjunction with the anniversary of PH after a year of administering the country, Dr Dzulkefly said a total of 2,443 people have undergone health screenings for their first visit under PeKA B40 since April 29. The project was launched on April 15.

Cabinet approves drug price controls Malay Mail 2nd May 2019
Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Health Ministry will work with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) to regulate medicine prices. The health minister said the Cabinet has already approved this and the two ministries will work to gazette regulations under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 since price controls fall under KPDNHEP. “I know the private sector may not be very comfortable with this but we are forced to take a solution that fits all. We cannot be selective. “If private is too expensive, our public hospitals will be congested. Give a breather for people to go private,” Dzulkefly told a press conference last Tuesday in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first year in office. The Health Ministry has yet to decide when the drug price control regulations will be gazetted as it wants to go for another round of consultations with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss the price control mechanism.

MOH to discuss proposal on mandatory immunisation on May 8 NST Online 29th Apr 2019
The proposal on making immunisation mandatory will be discussed among the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) steering committee on May 8 for approval, before it is presented to the Cabinet. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the views of various parties, including government agencies, the private sector, non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and associations were also sought in forming the proposal. "I will first chair and discuss it (at a pre-cabinet meeting) and based on the outcome, we will raise the matter in the Cabinet," he told reporters after officiating the national-level Immunisation Day celebration at Taman Tasik Cempaka, here, yesterday.

Health card for B40 group The Star 17th Apr 2019
The state government will introduce a health card for B40 (low income) households which will enable them to enjoy free health examinations at government hospitals and clinics. Chief Minister Adly Zahari said the initiative was among the promises in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and was expected to be implemented by next year. He said discussions were being held with the relevant quarters to make the card a reality and help reduce the burden of those in the low-income group. ‘‘We have seen its model and will identify the target group who will receive the service. ‘‘However, the allocation has not been ascertained yet but it is expected not to exceed RM500 a year for a household,’’ he said at a celebration at the Melaka Hospital here. During the event, Adly visited and gave out hampers to patients.

Myanmar

Hospital steps up efforts to help blood disorder patients The Myanmar Times 3rd May 2019
Yangon Children’s Hospital is performing up to 30 blood transfusions a day in an effort to help young patients suffering from the congenital blood disease Thalassaemia. Dr Aye Aye Khaing, head of the hospital’s Haematology and Oncology Unit, said the transfusions are being performed on an outpatient basis in her unit.

Health care just a click away The Myanmar Times 2nd May 2019
Most people who have a good command of English can easily search for health information using Google, but it can be difficult for someone who doesn’t understand English, especially in countries like Myanmar. Hello Sayarwon may have found a solution to that problem by harnessing technology and the internet to make health information available to all people in Myanmar. “The public will get a lot of benefit from a digital health care portal in Myanmar. We want to help people get the most trustworthy health care information online and to help them better understand how to live happier and healthier lives,” said U Thurein Hlaing Win, operations director of Hello Sayarwon.

Number of inpatients at govt hospitals grows by a million The Myanmar Times 1st May 2019
The number of patients staying at government-run hospitals across the country rose by over 1 million in the past five years, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. The ministry’s records showed that 3 million inpatients were treated at government hospitals in 2018, up from 1.8 million in 2013.

Tuberculosis cases cut by more than half in a decade The Myanmar Times 25th Apr 2019
The incidence of tuberculosis in the country has declined by more than half in the past 10 years due to measures implemented by the government, according to U Myint Htwe, minister of Health and Sports. U Myint Htwe said the government hopes to put an end to the disease by 2030. “In Culture Positive Prevalence, there are 242 TB patients out of 100,000 people. According to the previous survey, there were 502 TB patients out of 100,000 people, so the incidence of TB has declined by more than half,” he said during an event in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.

Philippines

Hospital offers safer, less invasive heart procedure ABS-CBN News 8th May 2019
The Medical City, established in 1967, started performing the procedure in 2010, and has since taken on thousands of cases, utilizing transradial access in almost 90 percent of its coronary procedures. This is the highest percentage, by far, of all the private cardiac catheterization laboratories in the country and matches the leading centers in Europe and Japan. "The transradial access is highly recommended as it provides a safer, more comfortable, and more efficient means to cardiac catheterization," said Dr. Jose Paolo Prado, a cardiologist at the hospital. "Through this innovative procedure, patients can undergo angiograms and angioplasties and go back to their normal routine within hours. It only takes around 15 to 30 minutes, and is even provided on an outpatient basis."

Health workers’ day ABS-CBN News 7th May 2019
Health workers from public and private hospitals hold a protest march in Mendiola on Tuesday to mark National Health Workers’ Day. The group pushed for an increase in the daily minimum wage to P750 and P30,000 entry level salary for nurses. The group also urged the government to stop labor contractualization at government hospitals.

UNICEF: PH immunization coverage dropping at alarming rate ABS-CBN News 7th May 2019
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has raised concerns over the Philippines' declining immunization coverage, saying some 2.9 million Filipino children are at risk of contracting life-threatening diseases. “Every child has the right to the best possible health care and access to disease protection through timely vaccination. Vaccines are the safest and most effective way of saving lives,” UNICEF Representative Julia Rees said in a statement released Tuesday. The measles immunization coverage in the Philippines, the agency said, has dropped at an "alarming rate." From 88 percent in 2013, coverage declined to 73 percent in 2017. It moved further down to less than 70 percent in 2018, which is far below the required 95 percent.

DoH sets up mental health crisis hotline The Manila Times Online 2nd May 2019
THE Department of Health set up a hotline for those experiencing a mental health crisis, including suicide prevention. The DoH said that the public may reach 24/7 the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline through 0917 899 8727 and 989 8727. The creation of the hotline is pursuant to the implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) under the Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act.

JV thanks Duterte for improving health facilities The Manila Times Online 1st May 2019
The President recently signed the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget, but vetoed P95.3 billion worth of programs and projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways. Ejercito, who earned the nickname “Mr. Healthcare” for spearheading the Universal Health Care law, said the President did not reject the more than P15-billion allocations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) “because, probably, he saw the wisdom behind this direction.” Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, managed to restore the P15-billion HFEP funds in the budget bill, which had been removed by the Budget department.

PhilHealth to introduce special benefits for PWDs The Manila Times Online 23rd Apr 2019
IN response to the passage of Republic Act (RA) 11228, which provides for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), state agency Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said preparations for the law’s implementation is underway starting with the crafting of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). RA 11228 which amends the Magna Carta for PWDs was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 22 and took effect on March 19. It mandates PhilHealth to develop exclusive packages that will address PWDs’ specific health and developmental needs.

‘Universal Health Care should be complemented with facilities, equipment’ Philstar 21st Apr 2019
In implementing the Universal Health Care Law, the government should also make sure that Filipinos – especially those living below the poverty line – benefit from quality health care by way of right facilities and quality medical equipment. House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano stressed the need to complement the newly enacted Universal Health Care (UHC) law by ensuring that health facilities and services made accessible to all Filipinos are properly equipped and of good quality. “Apart from the laws that we already made, we will keep on providing you with whatever intervention possible. Because sometimes, no matter how much you give, if you have limited facilities and equipment, the quality of health care services will be affected,” she said.

Healthcare law to address lack of doctors — Ejercito  The Manila Times Online 18th Apr 2019
SEN. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Tuesday said the lack of doctors and medical staff in far-flung areas would be addressed once the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law is implemented. Sen. JV Ejercito. FILE PHOTO The reelectionist senator deplored that 6 out of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor or health professional.

Singapore

Lam Pin Min on HSA’s strict standards and rigorous approval process for new drugs CNA 8th May 2019
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has strict standards for the approval of new drugs. Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said this in Parliament on Wednesday (May 8), in response to questions from NMP Irene Quay. Dr Lam also gave an update on the efforts to assist patients affected by the recent recall of the medicine for blood pressure, Losartan. He said HSA is on schedule in helping all affected patients switch to alternative medicines. The actions, he said, went "beyond what most countries have done".

HSA’s recall of high blood pressure drugs: More than half of affected patients have switched to alternative medicines CNA 8th May 2019
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has helped more than half the patients affected by the recall of three brands of high blood pressure drugs switch to alternative medicines, said Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min in Parliament on Wednesday (May 8). The affected products, which are the 50mg and 100mg tablets from the brands Losartas, Losagen and Hyperten, were recalled on Mar 28 because they contained higher than acceptable levels of a potentially harmful impurity. About 137,000 patients in Singapore were using the three recalled brands of losartan medicine, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had said.

MedAdvisor, Zuellig Pharma in Singapore-based JV to market medication management solutions The Straits Times 7th May 2019
Australian medication platform MedAdvisor and healthcare service provider Zuellig Pharma have formed a 50:50 Singapore-based joint venture (JV) ZP MedAdvisor (ZPM) to commercialise MedAdvisor's platform across Asia. For a start, the JV will provide SMS-based digital adherence programmes in two initial markets - the Philippines and Malaysia. ZPM has signed a software licence agreement for its medication management solutions on an exclusive basis for eight key markets - Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia.

US medtech firm opens instrument manufacturing facility in Singapore The Straits Times 3rd May 2019
PerkinElmer, a leading American medical technology company, opened its newest life science lab instruments and diagnostics manufacturing facility at the JTC MedTech Hub in Jurong yesterday. The Singapore facility is the company's largest instrument manufacturing facility globally. "Opening this new site in JTC MedTech Hub reaffirms PerkinElmer's commitment to operating our business and growing our customer base here in Singapore and throughout South-east Asia," said Mr Robert Friel, chairman and chief executive officer of PerkinElmer.

500,000 senior citizens to get Merdeka Generation Package eligibility letters this week The Straits Times 2nd May 2019
About half a million senior citizens can expect to receive their eligibility letter for the Merdeka Generation Package by this week, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (May 2). The letters were mailed to these Singaporeans by end-April, said the ministry in a statement. They can also look forward to receiving their Merdeka Generation Package welcome folder and card in the mail from late June.

Break down silos between private and public healthcare The Straits Times 29th Apr 2019
Singapore's healthcare system has been lauded by many for its relatively low spend and good outcomes. Newsweek recently ranked Singapore General Hospital as the world's third best hospital. Strong medical infrastructure, coupled with the country's robust clinical governance framework and reputation for excellence, have attracted even foreign dignitaries to Singapore hospitals. But the system is not without shortcomings. Long waiting times and overcrowding at public hospitals remain issues. The Government has more than doubled its public healthcare spending in recent years to keep up with the needs of Singapore's rapidly ageing population. Increased medical subsidies to keep rising public healthcare costs in check have widened the cost disparity between public and private hospitals, which are not shielded from the impact of global inflation and rising business costs.

83 healthcare professionals, caregivers and volunteers receive Healthcare Humanity Awards The Straits Times 25th Apr 2019
When Associate Professor David Sim took over as the head of the heart failure programme at the National Heart Centre Singapore in 2009, he was the only heart failure specialist and worked almost seven days a week. This routine went on for five years, till a second specialist came on board in 2014. "As long as I was not overseas, I would be around every day, including Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays," said Prof Sim, 43.

What can the US health system learn from Singapore? The Straits Times 25th Apr 2019
Singapore's healthcare system is sometimes held up as an example of excellence and as a possible model for what could come next in the United States. When we published the results of an Upshot tournament on which country had the world's best health system, Singapore was eliminated in the first round, largely because most of the experts had a hard time believing much of what the nation seems to achieve. It does achieve a lot.

Paradigm shift needed for sustainable healthcare The Straits Times 18th Apr 2019
Recently, in a speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore's healthcare receipts already exceed $9 billion and are rising faster (Hard choices need to be made for sustainable healthcare: PM, March 24). This does not include the billions more that patients spend on unsubsidised alternative treatments and supplements when medication stops working. Hence, PM Lee's speech is timely. As a 70-year-old caregiver to my wife, who has had Parkinson's disease for 18 years and dementia for five years, I want to expand on PM Lee's key points.

Returning Singapore to the global stage of semiconductor production The Business Times 8th May 2019
In 1986, Singapore became the second nation in the world to enter the semiconductor foundry industry. This early start was instrumental in establishing Singapore as a key semiconductor hub, generating over a dozen semiconductor fabricators each with US$1 billion or more in investment, and putting the island nation firmly on the global technology map. During this time, China, a global semiconductor power player today, did not have a single semiconductor commercial foundry facility. The early move provided the catalyst for a rapidly emerging semiconductor ecosystem in Singapore, attracting global equipment makers, material developers, chemical manufacturers, and a range of support industries. Top civil leaders like Philip Yeo, alongside investment agencies such as Temasek and EDBI, are owed a debt of gratitude for their work in bringing this to fruition.

Thailand

Healthcare development focus of MoU between Assumption U and Principal Capital The Nation 8th May 2019
Aiming to collaborate in medical improvement and academic advancement, as well as pursuing a senior healthcare development project, Principal Capital Public Co Ltd and Assumption University held a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The initiative also involves renovating C-Building at Assumption University into a Senior Healthcare Centre, and training of employees to better serve the senior patients.

BDMS awarded for medical tourism for fourth year The Nation 8th May 2019
SEVEN regional medical tourism awards were won by medical group for the fourth consecutive year at the Global Health and Travel Awards 2019. Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, members of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc (BDMS), were honoured with seven awards at The Global Health & Travel Award Ceremony 2019 recently held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The annual contest aims to recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets that have maintained consistently high standards in delivering quality care and pushed the boundaries to impress their customers at every stage and in every interaction.

Smart hospital uses AI to cut long waits Bangkok Post 8th May 2019
Samutprakarn Hospital is serving as a showcase for a state hospital by using innovative technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to solve problems like overcrowding and to reduce patients' waiting times. The hospital has also redesigned its workflow to improve its services, it said. Director Ruethai Wanthanawinit said the hospital started shaking up its strategy two years ago and has been "trimming the fat" by reducing the number of unnecessary steps in various work processes.

Private hospitals ‘may have to pay’ The Nation 2nd May 2019
Govt considers having private sector cover education of at least 20 doctors in future The government is considering whether it should nudge private hospitals into fully covering the university expenses of some medical students, if they want new graduates to work for them. Records show the government spends about Bt4.7 million per student enrolled at state-run medical schools. “For instance, Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine now enrols 320 students per year. We may allow the private sector to cover the expenses of 20 students in the near future,” Deputy Education Minister Professor Dr Udom Kachintorn said earlier this week. He once headed this faculty.

Private hospitals seek court halt on price controls The Nation 2nd May 2019
Ministry to meet hospital association in court over prices charged for services and drug. THE COMMERCE Ministry is heading to the Central Administrative Court to defend government controls on the prices of medical services and drugs, after the Private Hospital Association sought a court injunction against enforcing the controls. Bunyarit Kalayanamit, Commerce permanent secretary, said private hospitals are opposed to the price control measure as it would negatively affect the private sector. The Commerce Ministry’s committee on prices of necessity goods and services had earlier resolved to put medical services and medicines on the list of items covered by government price control measures following a large number of complaints about their high prices.

New policy ‘will hurt healthcare sector’ The Nation 23rd Apr 2019
The Rural Doctor Society (RDS) has warned that the government’s decision to not give civil-servant status to new doctors and dentists will only pose a threat to the country’s healthcare sector. “This policy, if implemented, will have a domino effect and not just adversely affect the universal healthcare scheme provided via state hospitals,” RDS president Dr Kriengsak Vacharanukulkieti said yesterday. He was speaking in response to reports that the committee on public workforce and policy has decided to recruit doctors and dentists as civil servants until 2021 only.

Novel R&D ministry 80% ready Bangkok Post 25th Apr 2019
A new ministry overseeing R&D and innovation is expected to open this June. Yesterday, Udom Kachintorn, the deputy education minister, reported on the progress of the new ministry to the cabinet. The Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry is 80% complete and set to commence immediately once the law governing it goes into effect. Mr Udom said the National Legislative Assembly endorsed 10 related laws for the new ministry on March 25. The government expects those 10 laws to be published in the Royal Gazette this June. If the laws are published in May, the government may need to appoint an acting minister to helm the new ministry.

Imports of 3 pesticides to be cut in half Bangkok Post 25th Apr 2019
Agricultural officials will halve the imports of three controversial pesticides, including paraquat, as part of a push to phase out and ban the chemicals by next year. The move comes after the Hazardous Substance Committee decided in February not to ban paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos despite repeated calls from scholars, consumer groups and state agencies, including the Public Health Ministry. The import restriction is among measures to ensure fewer and safer uses of the pesticides as well as to find alternative solutions for farmers. According to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the last purpose will be conducive to a complete ban on the chemicals. The import restriction is among measures to decrease use of the pesticides and find alternative solutions for farmers.

Medical marijuana move ‘not enough’ The Nation 22nd Apr 2019
More legal measures to further liberalise medical cannabis are required, campaigners stressed, so as to ensure that patients can freely and easily access affordable and quality cannabinoid medicines. Even though Thailand has already legalised the use of cannabis for medical purpose since February, medical experts and prominent politicians cautioned that there were still many legal problems obstructing the general public from gaining full benefit from medical cannabis legalisation. 

Vietnam

Drastic measures needed to curb increase of non-communicable diseases vietnamnews.vn 8th May 2019
Trương Đình Bắc, deputy head of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, spoke to Sức khoẻ & Đời Sống (Health & Life) newspaper about the measures needed to eliminate non-communicable diseases among young people.

Insurance SMS service to provide better access to information: VSS vietnamnews.vn 3rd May 2019
Deputy Director-General of Việt Nam Social Security Phạm Lương Sơn speaks with Nhân Dân (People) newspaper about the recent deployment of an SMS service which allows labourers to look up information regarding their benefits or whether their insurance documents have been processed.

Medical service fees adjusted in Hà Nội vietnamnews.vn 2nd May 2019
The prices of healthcare services in Hà Nội increased on May 1, according to the city’s Health Department. Accordingly, nearly 2,000 healthcare services would see fees rise by between VNĐ50,000 (US$2.1) and VNĐ200,000 ($8.6). The adjustment was made based on the rise in basic salary. Current healthcare prices are calculated based on a basic monthly salary of VNĐ1.15 million ($49), while it increased to VNĐ1.39 million ($60) on July 1 last year.

HCMC Oncology Hospital now using AI for treatment VOV 28th Apr 2019
HCMC Oncology Hospital has begun using an application based upon artificial intelligence (AI) in the treatment of cancer, following six months of testing, speakers said at a recent seminar held in Hanoi City.

Free biochemical tests and X-rays to be offered once a year: Ministry vietnamnews.vn 23rd Apr 2019
The Ministry of Health plans to provide free biochemical tests and X-rays once every year, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến said during a visit to Tân Quý Ward health station in HCM City’s Tân Phú District on Tuesday. The health station is one of the three in the city chosen as a family medicine practice model under the ministry’s requirement. The country has 26 such health stations, Tiến said, adding that the ministry will expand this kind of health station to several other provinces under official development assistance (ODA) capital.

Hà Nội tightens control over medical waste vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2019
All health facilities in Hà Nội are expected to have standard wastewater treatment systems by 2020 and five year later, all hazardous medical waste from the facilities should be collected and treated properly. These are two main targets of a medical waste treatment plan Hà Nội People’s Committee recently approved. According to the city’s Health Department, there are nearly 3,680 health facilities in the city. Last year, more than 27.5 tonnes of medical waste was discharged daily in the city, including 8.4 tonnes of hazardous waste. It is expected that in 2020, about 90 tonnes of medical waste will be produced daily and the number will hit 150 tonnes in 2030.

Health ministry works to increase immunisation coverage VOV 19th Apr 2019
Immunisation is one of the most important measures to protect the community from life-threatening and popular contagious diseases, said Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong.

EU programme improves health care for mothers and children in Việt Nam vietnamnews.vn 8th May 2019
Support from the European Union (EU) has helped Việt Nam achieve health-related development goals, especially the improvement of health care for mothers and children, over the past decade. Participants were updated on the programme's achievements at a national conference hosted by the Ministry of Health on May 8 in Hà Nội. “We are here today, looking back the journey of more than 20 years together, and we are very pleased to see that the Ministry of Health, provincial health departments and directors of health facilities continue to demonstrate high commitment to improving health service quality as a core objective of sector reform," said Ambassador of the European Union Bruno Angelet at the event.

NA Vice Chairwoman lauds WHO’s efforts in public health care VOV 27th Apr 2019
Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong lauded the World Health Organisation (WHO) for partnering with Vietnam to improve public health care quality during a reception in Hanoi on April 26 for WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai.

Immunization and preventive health in Vietnam VOV 25th Apr 2019
VOV.VN - Vietnam’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) covers 12 infectious children’s diseases. Smallpox, polio, and neonatal tetanus have been eradicated in Vietnam. Immunization programs have effectively prevented dangerous infectious diseases.

Improved healthcare services attract more foreign patients Vietnam News 17th Apr 2019
Improved healthcare services, especially for emergency treatments, have helped attract more foreign patients, including expatriates living and working in Việt Nam, travellers and visitors. In a recent case, a patient from Australia who collapsed at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport on March 30 in HCM City because of sudden heart attack after the flight was brought to the City International Hospital in HCM City’s Bình Tân District for emergency treatment. His symptoms included dizziness, excessive sweating, fatigue and low blood pressure. After an examination and laboratory tests, the results showed that he had a complete heart block, right bundle-branch block, and other health problems. Much of his heart had stopped responding properly to nerve impulses telling it to beat, and other parts of the heart were beating poorly. An immediate procedure was performed by Dr Nguyễn Hữu Tùng, head of cardiology and vascular intervention at the hospital.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV officially launched in Hanoi Voice of Vietnam 17th Apr 2019
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) service for HIV prevention was officially launched in Hanoi on April 16. PrEP allows people who do not have HIV but are at substantial risk of infection to prevent HIV by taking a pill every day, as part of a combination HIV prevention strategy. Phan Thi Thu Huong, vice director of the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control of the Ministry of Health, said PrEP is extremely effective when taken correctly, and would reduce the risk of HIV infection via unsafe sex by 90 percent or via injection drug use by 70 percent. According to vice director of the Health Department of Hanoi Hoang Duc Hanh, the service will first be provided at the Dong Da healthcare centre, Long Bien healthcare centre, and Hanoi Medical University before it is expanded in Hanoi. PrEP was first piloted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 2016. The service is being provided in eight clinics in Hanoi.