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Jan 23, 2023 / 18:13

Vietnam shows leading role in regional health services: US CDC

Vietnam’s active role in ASEAN and its longstanding relationship in health with US CDC and neighborhood partners reinforce its position as the leading contributor to regional public health services.

Vietnam is getting involved in global health security agendas by sharing data from what’s happening in the country and collaborating on best practices with a lot of other countries in the region.

Dr. Eric Dziuban, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC)’s Vietnam Country Director. Photo: Minh Nguyen

Dr. Eric Dziuban, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC)’s Vietnam Country Director, shared the view in an interview with The Hanoi Times.

Vietnam’s enthusiastic about being the leader in the region for public health services and different issues, including increasing health security, and the establishment and operations of medical centers, including the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED). Vietnam has been selected to serve as one of the ACPHEED locations.

Vietnam is one of the leaders in the regional health models which the country wants to see succeed and the US wants to support Vietnam in that leadership, he said, noting, “I’m encouraged by the fact that Vietnam is not just responding to one disease problem at a time between things but it helps move toward a better future.”

Specifically, the Hanoi-based CDC Southeast Asia Regional Office will focus on different issues throughout the ASEAN region and discuss what can be done to increase health security there. The regional office will be working a lot with the public health agency that ASEAN is developing.

Regarding the CDC Regional Office which was launched in August 2021 by US Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. Dziuban said it’s not only a country office between the US and Vietnam. It’s a sign of how important Vietnam plays in the region in the health sector. “We can work not just on our relationship between the countries and our partnership on health but Vietnam’s position as a leader across the region as well.”

According to the health expert, Vietnam is investing in its own institutions and more importantly is developing a national CDC, which will oversee the country’s public health system.

The US CDC is working closely with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health every day in terms of technical assistance and capacity building for the establishment of Vietnam’s National CDC.

The national center will matter a lot to Vietnam as it’s designed specifically for the country’s health system to protect Vietnamese people, Eric Dziuban said. 

The decision on the establishment of Vietnam’s National CDC was made by Acting Health Minister Dao Hong Lan in August 2022. The center is expected to enable Vietnam to better response and combat emerging infectious diseases.

Dr. Dziuban said it’s not easy to create new systems like this. That’s why US CDC will be working with the Vietnamese government to put this together over a long period. He added that it will take months or even years for US CDC to set up a new health system and the agency will successfully help it from the beginning.

“All the things we’ve been able to do here together is improving Vietnam’s overall public health,” he emphasized. “It really shows that our partnership still has a lot of room to grow, and it’ll keep getting better.”

Personally, the health expert has spent time as a medical doctor treating patients individually, seeing them in the exam room, and writing prescriptions, and as a public health doctor working on the health systems and trying to stop the spread of disease throughout communities.

Concerning Covid-19 and other emerging diseases in 2023, he said keeping the protection levels high is going to be a focus area in the year.

 Dr. Dziuban and the US CDC delegation works with Vietnam's Health Minister Dao Hong Lan. Photo: Tran Minh

The year 2023 also marks the 25 years of the US CDC in Vietnam. It’s the process that the two sides address shared health priorities. This year there will be a series of schedules in which leaders will discuss opportunities to build on existing successes of the longstanding relationship in health between the agency and Vietnam and with regional partners, such as ASEAN.

In her visit to Vietnam in June 2022, Dr. Deb Houry, US CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director, said: “Our longstanding partnership with the Government of Vietnam is an excellent model for how the US CDC can work with countries throughout Southeast Asia to address shared health threats.”