HA NOI (VNS)— Strong commitment from the whole political system and the mobilisation of all financial and human resources for pandemic prevention were highlighted among the lessons leant from the fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Viet Nam.
|First case of H1N1 flu in Vietnam.— Photo dantri
The country's success in battling SARS since 2003 was outlined by Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan at a meeting held by the Ministry of Health yesterday to mark 10 years of successful containing the virus in Viet Nam.
Praising the contributions by medical staff, provinces, cities and the World Health Organisation, Doan said the health sector's success in this area was an important milestone in the country's disease prevention work.
"Today there are no borders between countries when it comes to the spread of disease. So disease prevention requires not only efforts by one country, one ministry and one sector or locality but also co-operation among the whole international community as well as collaboration between ministries and sectors," she said.
Doan also suggested ministries, sectors, social organisations and people raise community awareness and responsibility to better help the health sector in curbing outbreaks of disease, especially dangerous viruses such as bird flu.
"Viet Nam was the first country to successfully contain SARS in 2003, an achievement that the World Health Organisation in Viet Nam is both very proud of and grateful to the Government for measures that were taken quickly to stop the spread of the disease," said the organisation representative in Viet Nam Takeshi Kasai at the event.
|Dr Carlo Urbani
The official added that Viet Nam had competent and well trained healthcare staff who could be quickly mobilised and exert all efforts at government offices, institutions, hospitals and communities to manage and contain SARS.
"We must continue our work to prepare for future outbreaks and improve our capacity to diagnose, treat, respond to and prevent new and emerging diseases from threatening our people and economies," said Kasai.
The representative also highlighted the contribution by Dr Carlo Urbani from the WHO office in Viet Nam in being the first to identify SARS in the country as a new and dangerously contagious disease. The Italian doctor was also one of the first people to catch and die from the disease 10 years ago in Viet Nam.
The first SARS case was diagnosed in Viet Nam on March 26, 2003. The virus claimed the lives of five people while 50 others who were infected were saved thanks to efforts of the health sector. The disease was contained successfully after 45 days.
In 2003, SARS was the first global outbreak of the 21st century that infected more than 8,000 people, causing nearly 800 deaths in 26 countries. — VNS