NEW YORK — Việt Nam has been aware of the significance of the early epidemic preparedness and response through the strengthening of the health care system from the central to local levels, Ambassador Đặng Hoàng Giang, Permanent Representative of Việt Nam to the UN has affirmed.
Giang was addressing the launching ceremony of the World Disasters Report 2022, themed “Trust, equality and local action – Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to avert the next global crisis” in New York on April 19.
The report was jointly introduced by the Vietnamese and Australian Permanent Missions to the UN, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The ambassador said that at UN forums, Việt Nam pushed for the UN General Assembly to choose December 27 every year as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, thereby enhancing the international community's readiness to respond early and fully to possible future epidemics.
Together with Australia and other countries, Việt Nam has persuaded the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution on holding a high-level meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and will continue to actively participate in the preparation process for the meeting.
Ambassador Giang held that the IFRC's recommendations are worth considering, which can contribute to strengthening the global health structure to better respond to future health risks. People need to be at the centre of policies on epidemic preparedness and response and play an important role in implementing these policies, he said, adding that handling fake news and providing timely and accurate information to the public about epidemics and government efforts are also important to this effort.
The Vietnamese representative said that the international community should focus on dealing with inequality in access to vaccines, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Việt Nam appreciates the support of the UN and international partners during the COVID-19 pandemic, underlining the need to provide developing countries with easier access to advanced medical technology through technology transfer.
Việt Nam believes that strengthening national health capacity at the grassroots level will play a core role in responding to future epidemics, which can be achieved through increased investment in infrastructure, equipment and personnel training. Policies to ensure socio-economic development, social security and people's lives also effectively support epidemic prevention and control efforts, he added.
The World Disasters Report 2022 underscores that the world’s preparedness ahead of the COVID-19 was inadequate, underlining the need to build people's confidence in the ability to respond to disasters, address inequalities in access to medicines and health care among countries as well as different regions within a country, and strengthen capacity and role of local communities in handling health challenges.
It noted that the coronavirus pandemic has been the biggest disaster in living memory, by almost any measure. Over 6.5 million people are confirmed to have died in less than 3 years – or about 1 in 1,000 people by the most conservative estimates – an order of magnitude larger than that of any recorded earthquake, drought or hurricane.
Participants at the event hailed the efforts of Việt Nam, Australia and the IFRC, holding that recommendations in the report are helpful for UN member states in engaging in and promoting major process this year, especially the mid-term review of the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response. — VNS