Joint programme makes substantial contribution to controlling avian influenza in Viet Nam

Oct 7, 2011

Ha Noi – A review meeting today concluded that the Government of Viet Nam and UN Joint Programme on Avian Influenza has made a substantial contribution to controlling the avian influenza virus in Viet Nam, reducing the risk to human health posed by a new human influenza pandemic.

Over the past six years, this US$25 million project has also demonstrated a new way of working together, combining the expertise of four UN agencies and two national ministries working together to address a disease that pays no heed to national borders or sectoral distinctions between human and animal health.

The final independent evaluation of the programme, presented at the meeting today, concluded that the joint programme has provided an effective mechanism for emergency response and has made an important contribution to overall national efforts in response to avian influenza. The evaluators noted the very high level of commitment by both the Government and the UN to the programme, which has contributed to overall socio-economic development in Viet Nam as well as to the long-term health of the population.

Speaking at the review meeting, Mr. Eamonn Murphy, acting UN Resident Coordinator, noted that: “The avian influenza joint programme provides an example of what is possible when a number of UN and national agencies come together to address a complex threat that cuts across traditional sectoral boundaries. It provides a model for addressing other disease threats from animals to humans and for addressing other complex issues like climate change and food safety.”

Dr. Bui Ba Bong, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, emphasized: “The Government of Viet Nam is strongly committed to sustaining our response to avian influenza and addressing other disease risks from animals to humans. We expect to continue to work closely with the United Nations in future to ensure the health and economic development of the people of Viet Nam and to contribute to regional and global efforts.”

The avian influenza programme has significantly contributed to reducing the number of human cases and disease outbreaks in poultry. Technical support has been provided to the national poultry vaccination programme and post-vaccination surveillance. The national institutional and legal framework for responding to avian influenza and similar threats has been strengthened through the development of key national policies, plans and standard operating procedures. Simulation exercises at national and local levels have allowed preparedness plans to be tested and refined.

The capacity of national personnel has also been improved through a wide range of training courses and activities, including the development of applied epidemiology training for medical doctors, public health officials and veterinarians. Human and animal diagnostic laboratory networks have been strengthened and support has also been provided to border health quarantine services, and for managing the movement of poultry within the country.

National communication campaigns have promoted changes in behaviour for the general public and key target groups, including poultry farmers and traders, to reduce the risk to humans and to complement national efforts to bring the circulation of the virus under control in birds.

Through the Partnership for Avian and Human Influenza, the programme has also supported overall coordination of international assistance to Viet Nam for the US$250 million Integrated National Operational Programme on Avian and Human Influenza, 2006-2010.

The Joint Programme on Avian Influenza was designed as a flagship activity of UN reform in Viet Nam in 2005. It has attracted significant support from donors and has provided an effective channel for US$25 million of Official Development Assistance through a single integrated programme, reducing administration costs for donors and bringing together the expertise and resources of the participating national and international agencies.

Ongoing cooperation between the Government and the UN to address the continuing threat of avian influenza and other diseases from animals to humans is expected to continue under the new UN One Plan for the period 2012-2016.

The Mission of the United Nations in Viet Nam

The United Nations, in partnership with the government and people of Viet Nam, works to ensure that all Vietnamese people enjoy an increasingly healthy and prosperous life with greater human dignity and expanded choices. Collectively and through its individual agencies, the United Nations cares and creates opportunities for the poor and most vulnerable, and for youth, to whom the future belongs.

In accordance with the United Nations Charter and Millennium Declaration, the United Nations advances the principles of equality and social justice, while providing impartial advice, technical expertise, access to global knowledge and local experience to meet Viet Nam's development challenges.

Contact information

Nguyen Viet Lan, UN Communication Officer
Tel: +84 4 3822 4383, ext: 121 Mob: 091 4436 769

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