HA NOI (VNS) — "We need to ensure that wildlife health is well integrated into our overall One Health approach and related mechanisms," said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.
A rapidly increasing population and growing livestock and aquaculture industries have made Viet Nam particularly vulnerable to avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases.
During a national conference yesterday, Phat said his ministry and the Health Ministry would issue a joint circular to formalise and strengthen cooperation on these key health issues.
US Ambassador David Shear pointed out that the One-Health approach was more than simply responding to a disease outbreak.
One Health acknowledges, for example, that a common virus in animals could turn into a catastrophic public health threat, he said.
Steps must be taken to link sectors and develop a proactive means of identifying diseases and looking for emerging threats or diseases that can move between humans and animals, Shear stressed.
UN Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta, another participant in the conference, reaffirmed continued support for Viet Nam in combating infectious diseases in the broader context of health protection, sustainable agriculture, socio-economic development and sustainability.
Viet Nam is one of the countries most threatened by the highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) panzootic. This strain continues to circulate in poultry with sporadic crosses in humans. Viet Nam saw 119 confirmed human cases (59 fatal) as of March 2011. — VNS