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The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security has been working with the Government of Vietnam and partner organisations to strengthen capacities to prepare and respond to health security threats, including COVID-19.

A Joint External Evaluation (JEE) was conducted in late 2016 and found high levels of capacity in coordination and communication, zoonotic diseases, surveillance and immunisation but mixed results in preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, planning and reporting. An assessment of veterinary services was completed in 2010.

The Centre conducted a Scoping Mission to South-East Asia in 2018, and these recommendations helped to inform priorities and propose areas for investment. In March 2019, DFAT opened a call for proposals for activities through the Pacific Infectious Disease Prevention (PIDP) and ASEAN-Pacific Infectious Disease Detection and Response (APIDDaR) programs and in 2020, partners will commence activities to prepare and respond to major health security threats, including COVID-19.

The following regional programs have been developed to build health security capacity in Vietnam: 

  • Capacity building and field placements for field epidemiology, through the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship program, delivered in partnership with the Australian National University. Placements are delivered in partnership with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. 
  • Grant funding for the University of Sydney’s V-RESIST study, to combat the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant infectious diseases in Vietnam.
  • Laboratory capacity building, biosecurity training and twinning, in partnership with CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness and the Regional Animal Health Office No. 6 in Ho Chi Minh City (RAHO-6 HCMC).
  • Research trials on the introduction of the Wolbachia bacteria to mosquitoes to reduce risks from dengue and other arboviruses, through the World Mosquito Program (WMP).
  • Support for collective action to eliminate malaria across Asia and the Pacific through the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), and funding for the APLMA/APMEN Secretariat to deliver advocacy and outreach and providing policy guidance.
  • Support for Vietnam’s national medicines regulatory authority through the Indo-Pacific Regulatory Strengthening Program to improve the impact and safety of medical products, in partnership with Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Drug Administration of Vietnam.
  • Volunteer deployments with partner organisations in Vietnam through the Health Security Corps, including roles to strengthen animal health and increase gender equality.