HCM CITY — Vaccination remains one of the most cost-effective interventions available to protect against infectious diseases, a report titled ‘The Decade of Healthy Ageing in ASEAN: Role of Life-Course Immunisation’ has emphasised.
Released by the EU-ASEAN Business Council, KPMG in Singapore and drug company Sanofi with support from the Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum (WPPF), it lists healthy ageing barriers in Southeast Asia and calls for urgent and greater focus on implementing life-course immunisation.
With age, the immune function goes into decline, increasing older people’s susceptibility to infectious diseases such as the flu and pneumonia, which can cause other health risks and complications, and vaccination helps protect against the diseases, it said.
Despite the obvious benefits, Southeast Asia lags behind the rest of the world in life-course immunisation, falling significantly short of the 75 per cent target rate set by the World Health Organization, it added.
John Jackson, president of the WPPF, said: “While the region focuses on COVID-19, and rightly so, we need to also give attention urgently to another pressing issue, ageing societies.
“As we age, we are more susceptible to health complications. Many diseases that afflict the elderly can be thwarted by immunisation. Yet, the role and value of life-course vaccination or vaccination at every stage of life beyond childhood is not fully realised.
“Today’s report provides a starting point for governments across the region to implement incremental policy changes that can further empower healthy ageing and economies.
The report, which seeks to inform programming and high-level dialogue at the regional and local levels, covers Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Việt Nam, the Philippines, and Indonesia with insights and inputs from 27 experts in the six countries as well as Switzerland and the US.
Chris Humphrey, executive director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, said: “This report shows us the dividends that we can harness by better ensuring a healthier, more productive older working population. Southeast Asia needs to start planning now to ensure that we take the right policy action including preventative care.”
Eric Mansion, general manager, Asia Zone, Sanofi Pasteur, said: “Health is wealth but protecting our older adults goes beyond monetary impacts [since] healthy ageing allows ageing populations to enjoy a good quality of life in their golden years and contribute meaningfully to social situations and beyond.
“Life-course immunisation should urgently be prioritised as a vital part of healthy ageing policies in Southeast Asia to lessen the impact of ageing societies and to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Jackson said: “Although further implementing life-course immunisation programmes will be a costly and logistically complex endeavour, the alternative will be far more expensive and not just in monetary terms.
“Time is running out, and swift, decisive action to address the issues that threaten to undermine having a healthy, ageing population is imperative.” —
Police probe suspected child abuse case in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh Province
Police in Ha Tinh Province, north-central Vietnam are investigating a case of suspected child abuse after a video clip spread on social media showed a half-naked man beating a teen girl with nothing on.
In the four-minute clip, the unclothed girl was hung against the ceiling of a house with a string that tied her hands while the man was beating her with a rod.
The video has triggered deep indignation among the online community after it was posted on Friday morning.
The incident took place at a house in Cuong Gian Commune, located in the province’s Nghi Xuan District, as far as Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper had learned.
Hoang Van Ha, chairman of the commune’s administration, confirmed to Tien Phong that the incident occurred in the locality, adding local police have launched an investigation into it.
The girl in the clip is N., 11, and the man beating her is her father, N.V.T., 36, Ha said.
N. is the second child in her family of three siblings and N.’s mother is now a guest worker in Taiwan, according to local authorities.
“The incident happened a few days ago. After the video clip appeared, local authorities and police came to T.’s house for verification but he had left,” Ha said.
T. works as a seaman and often drinks alcohol and beats his children, Ha added.
Local police are continuing to investigate this suspected child abuse case.
Torrential rain sinks streets, houses in northern Vietnamese province
Multiple streets and houses in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam were severely inundated following a heavy downpour on Thursday evening.
The provincial steering committee for natural disaster prevention and rescue told Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper on Friday that local authorities were dealing with the aftermath of the rain and calculating the total damage it had done.
The downpour that lasted for over an hour started battering Lao Cai City, which is the provincial capital, and several districts in Lao Cai Province at around 8:00 pm on Thursday.
|A tree is uprooted during the downpour in Lao Cai Province, Vietnam, August 4, 2022. Photo: L.Cai / Tien Phong|
Many streets including Tran Phu, Tran Hung Dao, Le Thanh, Nhac Son, An Duong Vuong, and Pho Moi were submerged by rainwater, while numerous cars and motorbikes broke down as well.
Uprooted trees were recorded on Ham Nghi Street and at Goc Mit Market and Thang Binh Park.
Flooding in local neighborhoods occurred quickly, leaving residents little to no time to react.
|A resident pushes his motorbike on a flooded street in Lao Cai Province, Vietnam, August 4, 2022. Photo: L.Cai / Tien Phong|
Many people reported having their homes, electrical appliances, and motorbikes damaged by the inundation.
Bac Cuong Ward in Lao Cai City suffered the heaviest damage with three neighborhoods sunk by the downpour.
The heavy rain also caused landslides in several areas across the province.
The National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting previously reported that torrential rains would lash northern Vietnam from Thursday until the end of this week.
|Houses are submerged by a heavy downpour in Lao Cai Province, Vietnam, August 4, 2022. Photo: L.Cai / Tien Phong|
Vietnamese province revamps public bus service after limbless man ignored by drivers
The Department of Transport of the north-central Vietnamese province of Nghe An has ordered a revamp of local public bus routes after a limbless man spent two hours repeatedly failing to flag down a bus, apparently because drivers were simply ignoring him.
A viral video posted online on Thursday showed Huynh Thanh Duc, 51, a resident of Ha Tinh Province, telling a local in Hoa Thanh Commune, Yen Thanh District, Nghe An Province that he stood at a bus stop waiting for a bus from 7:00 am to 9:00 am on Wednesday.
Duc, who is quadruple amputee, was dropped off at the bus stop by his child at around 7:00 am that day to catch bus No. 5 from Yen Thanh to Vinh City, the capital of Nghe An.
Three No. 5 buses passed while Duc and his child waited, but none stopped.
Duc’s child wound up having to leave to attend to an urgent matter, and shortly after a fourth No. 5 bus drove by without stopping for Duc.
A local named D., who filmed the viral video, helped Duc wave a bus down and help him aboard.
The video of the incident draw huge public attention and stirred mixed opinions, mostly criticism.
In their initial response to the incident, the operator of the No. 5 bus route explained that Duc stood a bit too far from the bus stop to be noticed and showed no signs of needing a ride.
However, according to D., it is common for passengers at the stop to wait in the shade of the nearby tree, rather than right at the stop.
They only run to the bus stop once the bus arrives.
Unfortunately, Duc was not able to leave the shade for the bus stop due to his disability.
On Thursday afternoon, Nguyen Van Hai, deputy director of the Nghe An Department of Transport, requested that his subordinates revamp service on all public bus routes in the province following the incident.
Nghe An currently has more than 300 buses which run a combined 1,300 trips per day at a frequency of about 15-35 minutes per departure.
Vietnamese law stipulates that priority has to be given to public transport passengers with disabilities, including prioritized seating, free or discounted fares, and assistance with boarding and deboarding.
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