Viet Nam and the international community join forces to coordinate the national fight against Avian Influenza

Nov 1, 2006

HA NOI With winter fast-approaching, Viet Nam, along with the international community took another positive step today in its fight against Avian Influenza and the threat of a human pandemic by establishing a national partnership framework to ensure all AI programming and funding in Viet Nam is coordinated and fits into the priorities of a single national plan.

“In the fight against avian influenza, we are always aware that, to gain success, Viet Nam cannot solve this matter alone and we need close cooperation with the international community by exchanging information and working on collective activities within the region, as well as worldwide,” said Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of the National Steering Committee. “We also hope that by means of multilateral as well as bilateral channels of cooperation, the donors will be at our side to carry out the proposed activities to stop the potential of an outbreak in poultry in coming winter season, and in the long-term, to totally eliminate the threat of H5N1 in Viet Nam.“

Viet Nam’s National Steering Committee for Avian Influenza, donors, non –governmental organizations and international organizations committed to an overall framework for monitoring progress and implementing programmes in Avian Influenza through what is being called the Partnership for Avian and Human Influenza (PAHI).

The establishment of this partnership will facilitate the implementation of Viet Nam’s national plan known as the “Green Book” or the “National Operational Programme for Avian and Human Influenza 2006-2010.” It is expected this plan will provide greater coherence and enhance existing partnerships through coordinated information sharing, greater policy dialogue and support to working groups.

“Just one year ago Viet Nam responded quickly and decisively to control avian influenza and minimise the risk for human infections,” said UN Resident Coordinator John Hendra. “With strong support from international partners, including the United Nations and the World Bank, Viet Nam is a global example of how nationally-led coordinated and integrated efforts can help control Avian and Human Influenza.  The Government-United Nations Joint Programme on Avian and Human Influenza continues to contribute to, and inform the national strategy and the UN will continue to support the people and Government of Viet Nam to reduce the risk Avian Influenza poses to human health and livelihoods.”

As a forum for information exchange and policy dialogue, PAHI will make recommendations to the Government and donors on how Official Development Assistance (ODA) to HPAI can best be spent to support the Green Book and its monitoring and evaluation. Viet Nam will also be supported to share information and experiences with other countries.

With an estimated budget of USD 250million, the Green Book sets aims to progressively control and eradicate HPAI from poultry in Viet Nam; minimize the incidence and mortality of human avian influenza infections; reduce the risk of the occurrence of a human influenza pandemic; and take steps necessary to reduce the impact of a pandemic, if it does occur. The Government expects to finance up to half of the total estimated cost for its implementation. Donors have thus far committed more than USD 60m.

“As Viet Nam is moving from emergency response to medium-to long-term integrated disease control and prevention programs in both poultry and human populations, donor coordination to support the government program becomes even more critical,” said Dr. Laurent Msellati, World Bank Country Operations Manager. “The Green Book provides the overall framework for donor support and the establishment of the PAHI will contribute to enhancing ODA efficiency and mutual accountability. The World Bank is committed to continue its financial support for the implementation of the medium-term program to control avian influenza and is preparing together with other agencies mainly the European Commission and the Government of Japan, a follow-up operation to the Avian Influenza Emergency Recovery Project due to close at the end of this year.”

Viet Nam has been one of the most-affected countries by Avian Influenza. There have been three main waves of outbreaks in poultry in Viet Nam since late 2003, which have claimed 42 human lives and affected eight million Vietnamese households, the majority of which are poor.

“Given the complexity of global pandemic hazards and inefficiencies in controlling border transportation of poultry, Viet Nam is facing a high risk of new outbreaks in the coming winter,” said Dr. Trinh Quan Huan, Vice Minister of Health and Vice Chairman of the National Steering Committee. “Today, with the support from the International community, Viet Nam has improved its capacity for pandemic preparedness and response.”

Contact informationDr. Hoang Van Nam, Deputy Director, Department of Animal Health, Secretariat of the NSCAI. Tel (84 4) 8686030
Dr. Vu Sinh Nam, Deputy Director, Viet Nam Administration of Preventive Medicine, MOH. Tel: (84 4) 8456855
Mr. David Payne, Donor coordination specialist, Government-UN Joint Programme on HPAI, Tel: (84 4) 9421495 ext. 167   Fax: (84 4) 9422267