Vietnam and U.S. Collaborate to Prevent Emerging Pandemic Threats
HANOI, April 7, 2011 - Today, World Health Day, the governments of Vietnam and the United States signed a memorandum of intent (MOI) to collaborate through 2015 to promote early detection and response to dangerous pathogens in animals before they can become significant threats to human health. The MOI reflects the intention of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), as the lead and coordinating Ministry, to work for quick detection and response to new and common diseases affecting animals and humans in Vietnam.
Following six years of Vietnam-U.S. cooperation to combat avian influenza, USAID's new Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program will build on the Government of Vietnam's successes in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response in geographic areas where these threats are most likely to emerge.
"The EPT strategy promotes a ‘One Health' approach bringing together all relevant sectors to prevent and respond to disease," said U.S. Charge d'Affaires Virginia Palmer at the signing. "This program is an excellent example of cooperation toward an important common goal: safeguarding the health of our citizens."
Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases affecting humans in recent decades have originated in animals. They include HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H5N1 avian influenza, and the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. The speed with which these diseases can surface and spread presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns, and underscores the need for the development of comprehensive disease detection and response capacities, particularly in areas where disease threats are likely to emerge.
The EPT program is one of several U.S. activities in support of Vietnam's disease control efforts. Since 2005, the U.S. Government has provided more than $63 million to assist Vietnam in preparing for, preventing and responding to avian and pandemic influenza.
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