The Netherlands Commits $1.2 million to Support National Programme Against Avian Influenza

Oct 26, 2005

HA NOI -- The Netherlands agreed to contribute one million euros ($1.2 million USD) to support the United Nations-coordinated emergency preparedness programme against Avian Influenza in Viet Nam.

“It is essential that Viet Nam have a harmonized and effective strategy to combat Avian Influenza at local and national levels. It is also essential for donors to coordinate their efforts in order to support Vietnam in the most effective and efficient way,” said Dutch Ambassador, Mr. André Haspels. “The programme provides a single point to focus country-wide efforts, looking at both immediate actions and at long-term investment in the public health sector.”

Earlier this month, at the request of the Government, the United Nations in Viet Nam agreed to provide immediate assistance to control the potential human outbreak of Avian Flu in Viet Nam and to support an emergency preparedness plan, in the event of an epidemic.

Working directly in support of the Government efforts, the initiative, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will tackle not only the immediate emergency needs of the Government, but will build the capacity of the public health system so that in the longer term, Viet Nam can manage future outbreaks caused by pathogenic organisms. UNDP will act as an administrative agent for the project, allowing donors to deal with a single agency.

“The UN in Viet Nam is very happy to have the Netherlands join us as one of the first donors to contribute to the emergency phase of this programme to fight Avian Influenza. We will soon be able to announce the contributions of other countries ready to play a part in this plan,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jordan Ryan. “This is an unpredictable virus that is spreading throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. We have reached a critical point, though we hope there is time to institute immediate measures to bring the situation under control in Viet Nam and to avert a global pandemic.”

Over the next six months, the emergency phase of the project will immediately work to control and eradicate the H5N1 - Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in domestic poultry. A national vaccination campaign will be carried out, along with improvements in: post-vaccination surveillance, the quality of Vietnamese laboratories and the systems to share information on the outbreak. A national education campaign will be held in the hopes of reducing the risk of transmission to, and among the human population.

Avian Influenza was first detected in Viet Nam in December 2003. Since then, Viet Nam has the highest rate of infection and the largest number of transmissions in humans. Unless coordinated efforts are made to stem its spread and avoid a pandemic, the effect on farmers and poultry producers will be devastating, and many innocent people will lose their lives.

Contact information

Mette Fjalland, United Nations Resident Coordination Support  tel. 0913238961  

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van, United Nations Resident Coordination Support  tel. 090345 5619