U.S. Health Sec. Visits Southeast Asia, Arriving in HCMC

U.S. Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt, who is visiting Indonesia, Singapore and Viet Nam, will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City Thursday and go down to Ben Tre Province Friday, the American Embassy in Ha Noi announced today.

Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The announcement says he is visiting Southeast Asia to advance efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the safety of imports, and to review cooperative efforts to reduce the spread of disease, including HIV/AIDS and avian influenza.

During the trip, Mr. Leavitt will meet with senior government officials and business leaders, and visit sites related to product safety, and the research, care and treatment of infectious diseases.

In Viet Nam, his schedule includes meetings with government and business leaders, and visits to fish-processing and poultry-raising areas in the countryside, such as farms in the Mekong province of Ben Tre. In HCMC Thursday, he will meet with representatives of the city Committee on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Secretary is also interested in learning about steps taken in Indonesia, Singapore and Viet Nam to help reduce the spread of avian influenza and other infectious diseases. America has identified Indonesia and Viet Nam as priority countries for pandemic influenza preparedness and response, and has provided funding and expertise for these efforts.

The U.S. also assists in combating HIV/AIDS through such programs as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Viet Nam is one of the 15 focus countries of the Emergency Plan.

Reported by Thuy Nguyen

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