United States, Can Tho, An Giang Launch Effort to Build Provincial Capacities to Address Climate Change-Induced Public Health Threats

June 7, 2024
Photo: USAID Viet Nam

CAN THO, June 7, 2024 – Today, the United States Mission to Vietnam, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched an initiative in Can Tho and An Giang provinces to build their local capacities to detect, prevent, and respond to climate change-related emerging infectious diseases. Joining the launch event were Mr. Nguyen Thuc Hien, Vice Chairman of Can Tho City People’s Committee; Ms. Aler Grubbs, USAID/Vietnam Mission Director, and Ms. Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam.

“USAID and Vietnam are building on our nearly 20 years of One Health partnership with a new focus on climate change,” said Aler Grubbs, USAID/Vietnam Mission Director, during remarks delivered at today’s event. “Today, we are pleased to announce USAID’s One Health project in Vietnam focused on the connection between climate change and disease threats. We are launching in Can Tho city and An Giang province. Together, we will safeguard public health and support a strong, prosperous, independent, and resilient Vietnam.”

Vietnam is at a high risk for the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic diseases, or infections spread between animals and people. Further exacerbating this risk is Vietnam’s high vulnerability to climate change, including changes in rainfall patterns, saltwater intrusion, and more frequent and intense weather events and natural disasters, which can result in increased contact between wildlife, livestock, and humans and therefore increased disease spillover risk. Intensifying floods and storms also risk damage to local health infrastructure and people’s access to health services, impacting health workers’ ability to prevent, detect and control diseases.

The initiative launched today will work with climate-vulnerable Can Tho city and An Giang province in the Mekong Delta. In consultation with local stakeholders, including businesses and women’s unions, the initiative will pilot provincial-level models that strengthen the climate change-related “One Health” response across the human, animal, and environmental health disciplines. Potential activities include upgrading primary health infrastructure to support continuity of services during extreme weather events, expanding telehealth options, and equipping local authorities and health systems to be better positioned to respond to climate-induced public health threats.

“Intensifying drought, saltwater intrusion and tropical storms in the Mekong Delta can drive outbreaks of dengue and other vector-borne diseases, as well as infectious disease spillovers from animals to humans. The project will support authorities, communities and other partners in Can Tho and An Giang to detect, prevent, and respond to climate change-related public health threats, recognizing that human health is closely connected to the health of animals and the environment,” said Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, during remarks delivered at the event.

The United States is a committed partner of Vietnam in addressing long-standing and emerging infectious disease threats, in line with our two countries’ shared priorities under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

For more information about USAID’s partnership with Vietnam to strengthen global health security, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/vietnam/health.

For photos, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBtGZh.

For media inquiries, contact Nguyen Thac Phuong, Communications Specialist at USAID/Vietnam; Tel: 0977 253 071; Email: phuongnguyen@usaid.gov. 
Or: Phan Huong Giang, UNDP Media and Communications Analyst, Climate Change and
Environment; Tel: 0948 466 688; Email: phan.huong.giang@undp.org.