UN supports One Health approach for better coordination on avian pandemics and emerging threats

13 Feb 2014

image Photo: UNDP in Viet Nam/ Shutterstock

Ha Noi - Viet Nam’s responsiveness to avian pandemics and emerging threats has received a boost with the approval of the two-year “Strengthening Capacity for One Health in Viet Nam” project to improve coordination and policy dialogue on these health threats.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project, with an US$800,000 funded by USAID and implemented in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH), was recently approved by the Government of Viet Nam (GVN) to support capacity, coordination and knowledge sharing for the application of the One Health approach in Viet Nam. It will help detecting public health threats from avian and pandemic influenza (API) and other emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in Viet Nam.

Health of people linked to the health of animals

“One Health recognizes that the health of people is inextricably linked to the health of animals, both wild and domestic, as animal diseases can jump to humans if given the chance,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Ms Pratibha Metha. “We need to develop effective policies, up-to-date regulatory approaches, enable good enforcement and raise public awareness to ensure our safety through disease prevention in humans, livestock and wild animals”.

Viet Nam is located in a relatively high-risk region for emerging infectious diseases, with the new Influenza A/H7N9 virus recently detected in humans and animals in neighboring China underlining a potentially serious threat to public health and economic development. These types of emerging health threats underscore the call by the UN in Viet Nam for greater coordination and collaboration between sectors and agencies to address diseases that impact on health, food security and safety, livelihoods, trade and economic development.

Through this project, the UN in Viet Nam will promote revised national coordination mechanisms between the animal health and human health sectors, by enhancing the capacity and skills of the MARD and MOH in step with technical dialogues linked to national and international trends.

Read the press release here