The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an MOI in Hanoi on April 7.
The memorandum of intent (MOI) will promote early detection and response of dangerous pathogens in animals before they can become a significant threat to human life.
Following six years of Vietnam-U.S. cooperation to combat avian influenza, USAID’s new Emerging Pandemic Threat (EPT) program will build on the Government of Vietnam’s successes in disease surveillance, training and outbreak response in geographic areas where these threats are most likely to emerge.
Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging or recurring diseases affecting humans in recent decades have originated from animals, USAID announced. They specifically named HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H5N1 avian influenza and the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.
The speed with which these diseases can surface and spread presents a serious public health threat as well as economic and developmental concerns.
The agreement will serve as a foundation for MARD to join in the USAID funded Emerging Pandemic Threat (EPT) program, said MARD Deputy Minister Diep Kinh Tan.
The EPT program is one of several U.S. activities in support of Vietnam’s disease control efforts. Since 2005, the U.S. Government has provided more than $63 million to assist Vietnam in preparing for, preventing and responding to avian and pandemic influenza.