International passengers with monkeypox symptoms will be isolated, closely supervised, and sent to the hospitals from Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Vuong Anh Duong, the Deputy Director of the ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment Administration, said the arrival area and the quarantine zone at Noi Bai International Airport meet the demand for quarantining monkeypox-suspected cases.
"In the medical quarantine zone, there are isolation rooms for suspected cases that are equipped with temperature monitors, and where medical personnel is on duty days and nights to closely supervise the suspected cases," he said.
Moreover, he added that billboards are hung to reinforce communication to passengers about monkeypox, and communication leaflets for epidemic prevention instructions are distributed in the medical quarantine zone.
Dr. Vuong Anh Duong, deputy director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment Administration checks monkeypox prevention work at Noi Bai International Airport. Photo: The Hanoi Times
"Vietnam has not recorded any monkeypox outbreaks, but some infections have been imported from abroad. Currently, not only European countries and the US but also many countries in the region have detected cases of monkeypox, such as Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. Therefore, the first source of infection is the airport, then hospitals and dermatology clinics. People should be vigilant in prevention efforts," Duong said.
Especially the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC) has arranged a Medical Quarantine Department with 30 employees working in three shifts per day at all locations exposed to contact with international visitors upon arrival in Vietnam.
Nguyen Hai Nam, head of the Department of International Health Quarantine under the Hanoi CDC, said that any member of the flight crew or passengers suspected of carrying monkey pox would be isolated immediately.
"We will screen for any symptoms of monkeypox. The suspect will be isolated and transferred to the hospital for monitoring and treatment. We also list people who have been in close contact with the patient and disinfect the areas visited by the patient," Nam said.
However, to be proactive and ready to respond when a case of monkeypox is detected, Dr Vuong Anh Duong suggested that in the international medical quarantine area, it is necessary to distribute more leaflets and hang more communication boards on monkeypox epidemic prevention.
"Relevant units should check the medical equipment, consumable supplies, and several emergency drugs needed to respond whenever there is a suspected case of monkeypox. Besides, the hotlines should operate smoothly to receive reports of suspected cases. The international medical quarantine area will closely cooperate with airlines to detect and treat monkeypox cases on time," Duong stressed.
Ensuring insolation capacity in hospitals
At the Hanoi-based National Dermatology Hospital, Dr. Duong said that although the hospital's campus is relatively small, they have arranged the protocol for receiving and screening patients.
The MoH's inspection team checks the prevention work for monkeypox at the National Hospital of Dermatology. Photo: The Hanoi Times
However, he suggested that the hospital regularly hold training courses on the disease to detect suspected cases early.
The National Dermatology Hospital currently dedicates a container room to isolate suspected cases. "Therefore, the hospital should have a plan for the situation with more suspected cases. In addition, there should be posters and leaflets on monkeypox displayed in the hospital," Duong added.
According to Dr. Bui Quang Hao, head of the hospital's Infection Control Department, between 1,000 and 1,500 patients are examined daily. So far, the hospital has received several cases from abroad for examination, mainly atopic dermatitis, and no suspected cases of monkeypox.
Regarding the protocol when a suspected case is detected, Dr. Vuong Anh Duong stressed that the first thing is to notify and call the hospital's hotline for consultation and diagnose whether the patient has suspected monkeypox.
"When a person is suspected of being infected, the priority is to call the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which is prepared to accept monkeypox cases, and perform tests to confirm the diagnosis of suspected patients," the deputy director stated.