UN supports Vietnam fight against avian influenza

The United Nations Tuesday signed an agreement with Vietnam to provide US$16.1 million to implement the second phase of a joint program on prevention and control of bird flu in the Southeast Asian nation.

Vietnam received nearly $6.9 million for the first phase of the Joint Government-UN Program o­n Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza which lasted from Oct. 2005 till March 2006.

The joint program will focus o­n building capacity for progressive control and prevention of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Vietnam, in order to minimize incidence of human infections, reduce the risk of the occurrence of a human influenza pandemic and to take necessary measures to reduce the impact of a pandemic if it occurs.

The country o­n Tuesday also signed with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) three separate projects, worth a total of $4 million, o­n this issue, which were funded by the governments of the US, Japan and Ireland.

The program's second phase and related projects will support Vietnam's Integrated Operational Program o­n Avian and Human Influenza, known as the "Green Book", for the 2006-2010 period.

Meanwhile, the projects implemented by FAO include activities such as field epidemiology training, support for mass vaccination campaigns and post vaccination monitoring, strengthening of laboratory capacity and national disease surveillance, operational research in the role of wild birds and free-range ducks and vaccine efficacy trials.

Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the signing ceremony that the Vietnamese Government greatly appreciated the valuable support from the UN agencies in the country's fight against avian influenza.

The joint program played a significant role in the development of the National Operational Program as well as its implementation in the future, Phat said, adding that the UN's support would help Vietnam achieve its targets set out in this difficult task.

FAO Representative in Vietnam, Adrew Speedy, reaffirmed FAO's full commitment to closely working with the Government and other partners in the country's fight against avian influenza.

He warned that Vietnam is now facing a high risk of bird flu reoccurrence, especially when the traditional Tet Lunar New Year is approaching, pushing up demand for poultry products

Rick Brown, a World Health Organization's epidemiologist, said the theme "Joint effort for a Vietnam without avian influenza" for 2007, has shown the consensus determination of the Vietnamese Government and international organizations in the fight against avian influenza.


Vietnam recently announced avian influenza outbreaks in three southern provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Hau Giang, the first reported since Dec. 2005.

Source: VNA, Nhan Dan