Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Vietnam

Story Highlights

  • In 2013, Vietnam became the first country in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Region to approve a national action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance.
  • CDC is assisting the Vietnam Administration for Medical Services (VAMS) within the Ministry of Health (MoH) with implementation of a national surveillance system.
  • Increasing capacity to track antimicrobial resistance will strengthen Vietnam’s ability to respond to this public health threat and improve patient safety in the country, the region, and around the world.

In 2013, Vietnam became the first country in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Region to approve a national action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance. A major part of the plan is to establish a national surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance and improve laboratory capacity to track and detect resistant bacteria. Increasing capacity to track antimicrobial resistance will strengthen Vietnam’s ability to respond to this public health threat and improve patient safety in the country, the region, and around the world.

In Vietnam, as in many countries, there are multiple factors contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance, for example:

  • Laboratories often lack the resources or trained staff to reliably detect some types of resistance
  • Overcrowded, understaffed hospitals, with insufficient infection control, can allow the spread of resistant bacteria
  • Antibiotics are not always prescribed for the right reason, are often overprescribed, or are administered with the incorrect dose or duration

In addition, laboratory surveillance for antimicrobial resistance is not conducted on a continual basis or coordinated through a central government mechanism. In major hospitals, many laboratories are testing for antimicrobial resistance; however, the data is not consistently analyzed, shared, or used for action at the hospital or national level.

Building Surveillance Capacity

CDC is assisting the Vietnam Administration for Medical Services (VAMS) within the Ministry of Health (MoH) with implementation of a national surveillance system. The system will allow the MoH to standardize antibiotic resistance data collection across healthcare facilities and more accurately describe the burden of antibiotic resistance within the country and trends or changes that can have global implications.

The national surveillance strategy is modeled after WHO’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS) and includes the implementation of a standardized surveillance system among 16 hospital laboratories. Steps of this national strategy include:

  • Developing roles and responsibilities in oversight of a national system to track antimicrobial resistance
  • Creating standards for national surveillance and reporting
  • Working with in-country partners to improve microbiology laboratory standards and protocols
  • Increasing technical capacity at VAMS to receive, analyze, and interpret resistance data
A photo of people meeting posing together in front of a building in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2017.

Vietnam Infection Control and Prevention staff and CDC-Vietnam staff meet with the directors of microbiology at Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2017.


A map of Vietnam showing the locations of the national AMR surveillance strategy in 16 hospital microbiology laboratories.

Vietnam’s national AMR surveillance strategy includes standardized surveillance in 16 hospital microbiology laboratories

CDC is investing in additional antimicrobial resistance activities, for example:  

  • Providing on-site technical assistance to hospital laboratories to reliably detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Assisting with hospital infection control training and mentorship programs
  • Providing training in partnership with PATH, American Society for Microbiology, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Clinical & Laboratory Standards Institute, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, and the World Health Organization in laboratory quality control, specimen identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing, and standardized reporting

Through strengthened surveillance, healthcare facilities in Vietnam will:

  • Promote optimal use of antibiotics within their facility
  • Prevent infections
  • Understand resistance trends in their hospital or region
  • Help protect the global community by identifying and containing new types of resistant bacteria
  • Be leaders in the detection and prevention of antimicrobial resistance in the Western Pacific Region

Together, CDC and partners are helping Vietnam combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance and fulfill their commitment to safe health care.

Learn more

 Top of Page

TOP