U.S. Provides Protective Gear to Help Prevent Disease Outbreaks
HANOI, October 10, 2012 -- The United States Government is providing Vietnam with more than 20,000 personal protective suits to help animal health workers respond quickly to potential new outbreaks of avian influenza or other emerging pandemic threat.
This assistance package, valued at approximately $200,000 and implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), comes at the request of Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
"Strategic and efficient use of this equipment by the Vietnamese authorities will not only protect animal health workers but also those involved in detection and response to diseases outbreaks," said USAID Mission Director Joakim Parker. "Our bilateral cooperation extends beyond bird flu to reach prevention, control and surveillance of known and unknown diseases that start in animals but that can potentially be passed to humans."
These supplies are being sent to regional centers and provinces throughout the country most at risk of bird flu or in greatest need of the supplies, which also include 50,000 masks, 80,000 gloves, and about 30,000 protective gowns.
The protective gear is intended for use in at-risk provinces to prevent human exposure to the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus. The gear will limit the risk of animal-to-human and human-to-human infections during outbreak investigations and response, human case detection and treatment, as well as other activities. The package of materials will help protect animal health care workers and others involved in the prevention and response of H5N1 or other pandemic threats at health facilities and in communities in Vietnam.
"Thanks to protective equipment such as this, none of our staff members working in the animal health sector from the central to the local levels has contracted avian flu. This is the best news for all of us," said Dr. Pham Van Dong, Director of the Department of Animal Health under Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Since 2005, USAID has provided more than $48 million in support of Vietnam's programs to combat avian influenza, including 60,000 complete sets of personal protective equipment.
View a photo gallery from the event here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usaid_vietnam/sets/72157631735345110/