31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Nov 05, 2021 / 20:40

Vietnamese PM ends visit to France, health cooperation on spotlight

With an agreement signed in 1993, France has trained thousands of Vietnamese doctors and provided medical expertise to Vietnam for nearly three decades.

Health cooperation becomes one of the key pillars in the three-day visit to France starting on November 3 paid by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (2nd right) meets representatives of Pasteur Paris Institute on Nov 4. Photos: VNA 

Among many meetings and talks with French leaders and businesses, Chinh’s visit to Sanofi, a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health, and a meeting of nearly 100 Vietnamese-French health officials and professionals have revealed the importance of health cooperation and resulted in tightening collaboration in the future.

On November 4, Chinh visited the Paris-based Pasteur Institute where he was told that Vietnam has an important role among countries that the institute has relations with.

Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam which was set up in 1891, is the first overseas facility of the Pasteur Paris.

So far, three Pasteur Institutes in Vietnam (located in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang) have made great contributions to preventing and controlling epidemics and boosting international cooperation against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his visit to Sanofi in Paris on November 4, Chinh witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Vietnam Pharmaceutical Corporation and Sanofi in the 2021-2023 period.

In 2017-2020, Sanofi invested US$170 million into Vietnam and its made-in-Vietnam products have been shipped to dozens of markets. The company’s committed to maintaining long-term investment portfolios in the country.  

Chinh appreciated the partnership and Sanofi’s presence in Vietnam, which is listed among the first foreign pharmaceutical companies to operate in the country, contributing to the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France.

 Representatives of Vietnam and Sanofi sign an agreement on Nov 4. 

On the same day, there was a meeting participated by Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang and representative of Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, France’s Ministry of Health and Solidarity, the France-Vietnam Medical Federation, and 50 health professionals from both Vietnam and France.

They discussed measures to promote cooperation in the healthcare sector and efforts to improve medical capacity and develop the pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam.

Speaking at the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said the two countries’ health cooperation started with an agreement signed in 1993, one of few intergovernmental agreements between Vietnam and other countries.

Between 1993 and 2009, the Government of France sponsored nearly 2,000 Vietnamese doctors for their training in France, contributing to the well-trained medical manpower in Vietnam, including leading health professionals.

France has extended its assistance to public health and preventive health with the cooperation between the Paris-based Pasteur Institute, the world’s first Pasteur institute, and Pasteur facilities in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the France-Vietnam Medical Federation, set up in 2015, a union gathers more than 20 associations working in the health sector including experts, investment funds, pharmaceutical companies, and medical equipment producers, expects to tighten cooperation with partners in Vietnam.

They have shared experiences and exchanged views on healthcare, joined medical training in Vietnam, and welcomed trainee doctors to France.

The cooperation has been intensified in the face of Covid-19. In the past time, France has donated more than two million doses of vaccines to Vietnam.

Notably, French doctors of Vietnamese origin have largely contributed to the bilateral ties, they said the decades-long cooperation has resulted in fruitful partnership, especially in the fight against Covid-19.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex in Paris. 

In meetings with France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex and President Emmanuel Macron, the health sector remained one of the most important fields that Chinh highlighted in the five-decade bilateral relations and the journey ahead.

He stated that the Vietnam-France relationship is “predestined” with the history that has lasted for centuries, leaving imprints on Vietnamese culture, architecture, painting, and music today. 

The two countries agreed to boost cooperation in transport, infrastructure, agriculture, environment, energy, aviation-space, and digital transformation, with a focus on technology transfer. 

In the talks, leaders of both countries agreed to hold more activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations and the 10th year of the Vietnam-France Strategic Partnership in 2023.

The bilateral ties have covered a wide range of fields regarding politics, economics, defense and security, health, education, science, culture, justice, and cooperation among localities.  

To boost ties with France and European countries in general, Chinh met 11 Vietnamese ambassadors to Europe. He reminded them of the recovery plans that Vietnam is pursuing and stressed the importance of the European Union–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The ambassadors were tasked with contributing to boosting Vietnam’s exports to Europe and pushing the European Commission (EC) to remove the “yellow card” on Vietnam’s fishing status that it issued in October 2017.

Chinh told the ambassadors of the role of overseas Vietnamese, saying that the community of more than five Vietnamese abroad has a crucial role in the country’s development. They are bridges linking and strengthening the relations between Vietnam and the countries they are living in.

In addition, the Vietnamese PM ended the visit with the signing of roughly 30 agreements worth billions of dollars between the two countries’ agencies and businesses, including T&T and Cancer Center Francois Baclesse on building high-quality hospitals at Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi Medical University, and NG Biotech on transferring technologies for the production of test kits, Vietjet and Airbus, Vinfast and EDF, HDBAnk and the French Development Finance Institution (Proparco), T&T Group and Total. 

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and France's President Emmanuel Macron.