October 11, 2011


Vietnam, UN's collaboration against bird flu virus a success



The Vietnam-United Nations Joint Programme on avian influenza has made a great impact in controlling the virus and decreasing risks to human health in the country.


Started in 2005, the US$25-million programme has provided an effective mechanism for emergency response to avian influenza and reduced the number of both human cases and disease outbreaks in poultry.


The programme has provided technical assistance for the national poultry vaccination programme and post-vaccination surveillance; enhanced the legal framework for responding to avian influenza and similar threats; as well as increased the capacity of medical workers, health officials and veterinarians.


The programme also aimed to help poultry farmers and traders mitigate the risk of infection among humans and bring the virus under control in birds.


Eamonn Murphy, acting UN Resident Co-ordinator said that the programme provided a model for UN and national agencies to discuss disease threats from animals to humans and other complex issues.


Bui Ba Bong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development strongly affirmed Vietnam's commitment to respond to avian influenza and address the risks of the disease and expected more assistance from the UN to help ensure the health of the Vietnamese people and contribute to regional and global efforts.


Vietnam is the second hardest hit country worldwide by the bird flu virus with over 100 human infections and 53 deaths since late 2003. The outbreaks caused 52 million birds culled, which stagnated poultry production, disrupted trade, and seriously affected the tourism sector and the livelihoods of many rural poor households.