Mr. Nguyen Minh Tuan, Director General, Department of Medical Equipment and Construction, Ministry of Health;

Mr. Tran Quoc Dung, Deputy Director, Viet Nam Certification Centre, Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Viet Nam for effective and successful responses to COVID-19. I would like to thank the Department of Medical Equipment and Construction, Ministry of Health and Viet Nam Certification Centre, Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality for co-organising this important workshop. UNDP is very honored to provide support to the Government of Viet Nam to promote the national production of medical masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) for domestic use and export. A full room of participants with 130 business representatives shows how important the workshop is.

COVID-19 has shown many challenges and problems that we are facing, not only to individuals but to countries and the globe. As you are aware, due to extraordinarily increase in usage demand, export bans and lockdown of manufacturing countries in the world, different countries have suffered PPE severe shortage. This has triggered the discussion of strengthening and ensuring domestic supply chain of PPE. In the case of Viet Nam, COVID-19 leads us to look back at our current system on medical masks and PPE, how to improve the standards of medical masks and PPE to best protect the frontline healthcare sector and public health. It also leads us to think about making Viet Nam become a leading country providing medical masks and PPE for the world. And this is time for us to discuss the strategic roadmap to “turn risks into opportunities” as said by the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

To achieve two objectives aiming for higher quality and enhancing export of PPE, three issues have come out from recent discussions. Firstly, the quality of medical masks and PPE is low. This drives the need to have a new system of standards and regulations for PPE to be equivalent to international specifications that the World Health Organization advises.  Secondly, the quality assurance support system is not yet available, which covers quality compliance and enforcement. This requires swift improvement and change in national capacity in PPE quality testing, assurance and certifying. And thirdly, there is limited connection in the supply chain among relevant stakeholders including material suppliers, manufacturers, quality controllers, and buyers.

I hope that at this workshop, we will hear more about issues and bottlenecks that are preventing Viet Nam to improve its production capacity and quality and export capacity, and how the government can support the whole process, and what enterprises needs to play their roles best.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said: “COVID-19 has demonstrated our global fragility, not only in our health systems, but in all areas of our world and our institutions”. But he also said: “This is a global crisis, and it’s up to all of us to solve it”. We have witnessed how COVID-19 has changed the way we thought and acted. I believe that with our joint efforts, we will turn difficulties to opportunities and will create a new face on PPE for Viet Nam.

On this occasion, I want to confirm our support to promote the national production of medical masks and PPE in Viet Nam. Through our current work on the health sector and health procurement architecture, we can mobilize necessary resources to support this process.

 As for the COVID-19 response, UNDP is supporting Viet Nam in three areas of Inclusive and Integrated Crisis Management and Response, Social and Economic Impact Need Assessment and Response, and Health System Support. We have supported the Ministry of Health in emergency international procurement of PPE. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, we supported to produce 21 videos on key messages in ethnic minority and sign languages to support these groups access to information to COVID-19, and launched the official English version of GhenCovy MV on Youtube, Sony and other platforms, from which to mobilize resources for COVID-19 action. The UN Working Group on COVID-19 Economic Impact Assessment led by UNDP is preparing a consolidated report on COVID-19 economic impacts, including a rapid socio-economic impact assessment on vulnerable households and micro, small and medium enterprises. We are also working with the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs to support fast and safe delivery of Government cash transfer to vulnerable populations using e-payment tools, to leave no one behind.

I hope you will have fruitful discussions today. Once again, I would like to stress the importance of bringing our PPE to a higher standard and bringing our PPE to all over the world. I wish you all good health and stay safe.

Thank you.

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