- More than 80% of the total 3 billion workers in the world, work and live without having access to occupational health services.
- Nearly half of the Asia Pacific region’s 4 billion people are workers, excluding the informal sector.
- About 430,000 lives and 14 million disability adjusted life years were lost in 2000 in Asia and the Pacific from occupational hazards.
- In May 2007, the 60th World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health 2008-2017 with the following objectives:
- To devise and implement policy instruments on workers' health;
- To protect and promote health at the workplace;
- To improve performance of and access to occupational health services;
- To provide and communicate evidence for action and practice;
- To incorporate workers' health into non-health policies and projects.
- WHO’s Western Pacific Region has developed a Regional Framework for Action for Occupational Health 2011-2015. Its objectives are identical to those of the Global Plan of Action mentioned above. Under each objective, priorities and actions that are relevant to the Western Pacific Region are identified and highlighted.
- Viet Nam has a population of 86 million and a workforce of about 48 million.
- About 48.2% of workers are in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 15.3% in industry and 5.6% in contruction.
- Small and medium-sized enterprises amount to 97.1% of 206,000 enterprises in 2008. Over recent decades, Viet Nam has made great achievements in socio-economic development by promoting industrialization and modernization.
- Many new risks and hazards have been generated during the industrilization process – for example, new chemicals used in the footwear industry and various kinds of pesticides in agriculture.
- In addition to the traditional occupational diseases (pneumoniosis, noise-induced hearing loss, chemical poinsoning, etc), work-related diseases also occurred, such as musculoskeletal disorders, diseases caused by occupational stress and psychosocial factors, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and avian influenza.
- By 2012, the accumulative number of Viet Namese workers receiving occupational compensation was 27, 246, out of which occupational silicosis accounted for 75% and noise-induced hearing loss 15%.
- There is a need to strengthen the occupational health service system, especially in small-scale enterprises and the informal sectors such as agriculture, handicraft villages.
- WHO provided technical support to help Viet Nam implement the Workers' Health Protection Project 2009-2011 with financial support from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. The main achievements were:
- Basic data on basic occupational health services at all levels (from central to enterprises) have been collected.
- The national capacity to join ILO Convention 161 has been reviewed and pilot models of basic occupational services, combined with improvement in working conditions, have been successfully implemented in agriculture, handicraft villages, and health facilities, and some small and medium enterprises.
- Most models yielded satisfactory results, and some interventions are sustainable and impact positively on workers' health.
- The project purchased equipment and provided training necessary to facilitate monitoring of work environments, diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases and the development of a national profile of asbestos-related occupational health.
- The project studied the relationship between mesothelioma and lung cancer development, and the extent of asbestos contact by cancer patients in certain hospitals in Viet Nam. Institutes and hospitals in Japan collaborated in the exchange of research experiences and conformation of test results.
- Health workers at the central and provincial levels were trained to enhance their capacity to monitor occupational safety in health facilities and to prevent the development of occupational diseases.
- Project products including training materials and other documents have been widely disseminated via activities of the national programme, such as conferences and workshops.
- WHO continues to support Viet Nam in the second phase of the project for 2012-2014:
- Implement basic occupational health services in construction, mining and chemical sectors.
- Capacity building for development and implementation of the national action plan on elimination of asbestos- related diseases.
- Support monitoring and supervision of the National Program on Occupational Safety and Health 2011-2015.
- Collaboration with other ASEAN countries.