Việt Nam wants US help in setting up two central Centres for Disease Control: Minister

March 30, 2021 - 11:28
Vietnamese health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long said Việt Nam hoped that the US would provide support for the country’s plan to set up two central-level CDCs.


Staff at Hà Nội City's Centre for Disease Control (CDC) handling collected COVID-19 samples for testing. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long said Việt Nam hoped that the US would provide support for the country’s plan to set up two central-level Centres for Disease Control.

He made the request at a meeting with the Director for US Centres for Disease Control (CDC)’s Southeast Asia Regional Office John MacArthur and Dr Matthew Moore, Director of US CDC Việt Nam’s Global Health Security Programme late Monday.

Both US CDC officials expressed confidence in Việt Nam’s response against the COVID-19 pandemic while praising its testing capacity and treatment of the infected.

John MacArthur said the US CDC and the Vietnamese Government in recent years had cooperated in several health issues, including prevention and control of infectious diseases.

He said Việt Nam had plenty of experience in effectively dealing with emerging contagions, from SARS in 2003, avian flu to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, he cautioned that infectious diseases know no borders and can spread rapidly so health security should be considered a key focus of each country and the world at large.

Highlighting the US decision to establish a regional CDC office in Việt Nam in a bid to strengthen cooperation in health security, the US official said the Southeast Asian CDC office was not supposed to replace Việt Nam’s own CDC but to connect regional CDC’s activities with that of Việt Nam.

Vietnamese health minister Long at the meeting stressed that the Ministry of Health of Việt Nam backed the US’ priority issues in the Southeast Asian region, especially health security.

“We see health security not just as a health problem but one that directly links to socio-economic development, security and social order,” Minister Long said.

He thanked the US Government and US CDC for their recent support to Việt Nam’s health sector.

Affirming that the local network of CDCs in Việt Nam had been and were proving their worth in the fight against diseases – including COVID-19, Long said Việt Nam was striving to further improve their capacity and responses against future threats.

Việt Nam will set up two central-level CDCs, one in the northern region and one in the southern region, according to Long.

“We hope the US CDC would support Việt Nam in the setting up of these central-level CDCs, both in terms of finance and technical support,” the Vietnamese health minister told the US health officials.

Regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, Long said vaccine access among ASEAN countries remained very difficult while the pandemic’s developments were complicated, requesting the US CDC’s Southeast Asia office to help ASEAN gain access to US COVID-19 vaccines to use in their inoculation efforts.

The health minister also informed the visiting US CDC officials that Việt Nam was deliberating issues concerning “vaccine passports” to soon submit proposals to higher authorities, to facilitate travel while ensuring health safety. — VNS