In Vietnam, Nguyen Ha Linh Calls on Government to Give Economic Support to People Living with NCDs

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Nguyen Ha Linh
Nguyen Ha Linh

A young woman living in Vietnam has called on organizations and communities locally and globally to step up support for people living with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – especially multiple sclerosis (MS).

“I call on the Vietnamese government to give economic support packages to people living with NCDs, especially people with disabilities, because many are paralyzed, unable to support themselves and earn a living,” said Nguyen Ha Linh.

Ha Linh lives with MS. Since the age of 23 she has been rapidly deteriorating. While at first she worked as a graphic designer, gradually her arms and legs weakened until she became paralyzed. She developed atrophy of the nerve in her eyes. Today, all of her activities depend on the care of her relatives.

Nguyen Ha Linh
Nguyen Ha Linh

Access to care

But her greatest challenges have been access to care and finances.

“Multiple sclerosis is not covered by insurance in Vietnam, so I must pay for my care out of pocket, with financial support from my relatives,” Ha Linh explained. “Multiple sclerosis is considered a rare disease in Vietnam. People living with this condition find it very difficult to access diagnosis and care, and not all major hospitals have the resources for treatment. For those that manage to access care for multiple sclerosis, this is very expensive.”

Government must take action

She said that people living with MS often focus on getting funding from philanthropists who care about people living with disabilities. However, she believes that the government should be the one to take action first.

“Many challenges related to treatment, care and support for people living with NCDs remain largely unaddressed,” Ha Linh said. “In particular, the components of care and support are weak, which therefore means that relatives play an important role for those who have a good support system at home. This is not always the case.

“People living with NCDs would like to call on the government to change the regulations around health insurance to allow access to affordable diagnostics and care to help us have a better life,” she concluded.

Read Nguyen Ha Linh’s full NCD Diary.
Read next post.

Image Credits: Courtesy of the NCD Alliance.

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