CDC in Vietnam

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CDC supports Vietnam’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) which trains field epidemiologists to become disease detectives and be able to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks, including COVID-19. Photo by Diep Thi Bich Vu/CDC Vietnam.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began working with the government of Vietnam in 1998 to build high-quality, sustainable public health systems that lead to long term impact. CDC provides technical expertise to the Vietnam Ministry of Health (MOH) to support and scale up programs that target priority diseases. The agencies collaborate on programs that cover HIV, tuberculosis (TB), influenza, and support preparedness and response to epidemics. CDC supports workforce development for the 21st century. CDC strengthens laboratory and surveillance systems on prevention of antimicrobial resistance and infections in healthcare settings as well as zoonotic and vaccine-preventable diseases. CDC also provides guidance to activate emergency operations centers and strengthen emergency management.

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CDC Impact in Vietnam

Global Health Security

In today’s globally connected world, disease threats can spread faster and more unpredictably than ever. CDC’s global health security efforts in Vietnam improve the country’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. These efforts help Vietnam reach the targets outlined in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

Working with the government of Vietnam and partners, CDC supports:

  • Workforce development
  • Early reporting of disease outbreaks
  • Preventing disease transmission in hospitals
  • Strengthening biosafety to protect laboratory workers
  • Strengthening biosecurity to prevent the public from accidental or deliberate release of pathogens
  • Reducing illnesses and deaths due to antimicrobial resistance
  • Strengthening Vietnam’s immunization program
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CDC helped establish a network of 5 emergency operations centers to coordinate effective responses when crises occur

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107 disease detectives have graduated from the 3-month FETP short course program since 2019. The 9-month FETP intermediate course started in 2021 and the 12-month FETP advance course is expected to launch in 2022

COVID-19

Past investments and decades of global cooperation and support in Global Health Security to control HIV, TB, respond to outbreaks, strengthen influenza surveillance and pandemic preparedness built strong foundations that were leveraged to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Vietnam is at the forefront of global efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.

CDC’s technical staff work directly with MOH counterparts to:

  • Develop national guidelines for surveillance, quarantine, laboratory testing, and infection prevention and control
  • Strengthen laboratory testing so infections can be identified faster and accurately
  • Provide Infection Prevention Control (IPC) training to hospital staff to prevent spread of COVID-19
  • Assist in field investigations to protect communities
  • Provide data analysis to the government to make decisions based on the most reliable information
  • Provide training on sample collection, biosafety, and testing for COVID-19
  • Support vaccine equity, demand generation, and distribution
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U.S. CDC provided training on COVID-19 testing, biosafety and sample collection at Vietnam’s provincial CDCs and hospitals in 34 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces

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Nearly 3,500 health workers received online trainings on personal protective equipment and COVID-19 prevention and control

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FETP fellows supported two large-scale COVID-19 investigations from February-April 2020 that helped Vietnam’s successful effort to contain COVID-19 outbreaks for the first 14 months of the global pandemic

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Fellows in training from U.S. CDC’s Vietnam FETP conduct contact tracing interviews during a COVID-19 outbreak in Vinh Phuc province. Photo by Vu Thi Bich Diep/CDC Vietnam.

HIV and Tuberculosis (TB)

As a key implementer of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC works with Vietnam health agencies to build sustainable, high impact programs to accelerate progress toward the UNAIDS global targets to control the HIV epidemic. CDC champions the public health response to HIV in-country and collaborates with the MOH to institutionalize state-of-the-art biomedical and scientific innovations and best practices. CDC technical staff:

  • Provides technical assistance to the MOH, academic institutions, provincial HIV programs and private sector
  • Supports high quality HIV service delivery
  • Strengthens HIV lab and diagnostic capabilities
  • Enhances HIV surveillance, epidemiology, and program monitoring, including the use of state-of-the art testing to detect potential hotspots of active HIV for action and response
  • Works with populations living with or affected by HIV, to ensure equity and people-centered approach in HIV service delivery

Since 2004, with the support of PEPFAR, the number of HIV sentinel sites that CDC monitors to track the patterns of infection in Vietnam has increased. CDC has helped implement effective and sustainable HIV surveillance, treatment, and prevention programs in the country.

Vietnam is among the highest burden TB countries in the world. CDC provides technical support to Vietnam’s National TB Program to strengthen efforts to find, cure, and prevent TB, HIV-associated TB, and multidrug resistant TB. CDC strengthens the country’s capacity to operationalize TB control tools, helps build the evidence for improved TB control and prevention, and uses evidence to guide data-driven decision-making.

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By the end of September 2021, all 58 (100%) CDC-supported PEPFAR sites started newly diagnosed HIV patients on HIV treatment on the same day. Nearly 70% of new patients benefited from same-day treatment

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By early 2022, 98% of patients on PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment, had undetectable viral loads, a marker of treatment success. This means they cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners, known as Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U). This percentage is among the highest in the world

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Vietnam MOH, with support from CDC, was the first PEPFAR country to issue communication guidelines on U=U in 2019, helping to dismantle HIV stigma and discrimination

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CDC and partners conducted a landmark clinical TB treatment trial for a shorter TB treatment regimen (4 months vs. 6 months). This was the first new TB treatment regimen globally in over 30 years

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CDC supported the development of robust HIV testing diagnostics and national external quality assurance systems for 931 HIV testing laboratories

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During COVID-19 disruptions, CDC Vietnam helped the MOH implement novel service delivery, including telemedicine, to support HIV treatment continuity and access to life-saving medicine and supplies. CDC helped deliver 5,000 home-based care packages for people living with HIV (PLHIV)

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Improved rapid detection and notification of TB cases by systematically applying an enhanced TB screening strategy. This effort tripled TB diagnoses among people living with HIV

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Introduced a new shorter TB preventive therapy regimen for people living with HIV in 2021

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In 2019, demonstrated successful treatment of latent TB infection among Vietnamese immigrating to the United States to prevent spread of disease and protect the health of Americans

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Conducted TB burden studies to identify program gaps and inform the national strategy to end TB in Vietnam

Laboratory Capacity Building

CDC’s initial support to strengthen laboratory quality management systems to diagnose, monitor, and prevent HIV, TB, and influenza has expanded to a range of infectious diseases. These activities helped Vietnam develop national strategic plans, a public health reference laboratory network, and a biosafety and biosecurity system. CDC also supports scale up for HIV confirmatory services, routine viral load monitoring, and innovations such as recency testing and molecular diagnostics for TB. Implementation of an electronic laboratory information system at 32 HIV testing labs has led to faster results and improved data quality.

CDC facilitates collaboration between human and animal health laboratories, to ensure both can detect novel respiratory viruses with pandemic potential. Annually, approximately 5,000 specimens from hospitalized patients in Vietnam are tested for influenza viruses and for seven other viral respiratory pathogens. Influenza A positive samples from humans and poultry are sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center and to CDC for further characterization and as candidate vaccine viruses.

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26 medical labs obtained international accreditation for HIV, TB, influenza, dengue, and other clinical testing with CDC support

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CDC helped develop a surveillance system for antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in 16 laboratories

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CDC established a national public health reference laboratory in 2017 with state-of-the-art diagnostic capacities and the ability to characterize new diseases with genetic fingerprinting

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CDC transferred technology and supported the Vietnam National TB Reference Laboratory with the implementation of a WHO approved molecular assay. It is now a regional resource providing services to three additional countries

Influenza

CDC has partnered with Vietnam to provide support for influenza preparedness since 2005, including the establishment of two National Influenza Centers that can rapidly detect novel or recurring influenza viruses. CDC supports surveillance of Severe Acute Respiratory Infections, Influenza-like-Illness, and severe viral pneumonia. CDC also strengthens the national capacity to detect avian influenza outbreaks, responds to the introduction of novel viruses in poultry, and supports ongoing testing of selected live bird markets throughout the country. In January 2019, Vietnam licensed its first human seasonal influenza vaccine. CDC, with the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction, collaborates with Vietnam on a multi-year plan to vaccinate health workers.

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Vietnam licensed its first domestically produced human seasonal influenza vaccine in January 2019

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Vietnam vaccinated 136,000 health workers in 24 provinces using the locally produced influenza vaccine from Sep. 2020 – Mar. 2021 with CDC support

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In June 2021, Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health detected its first in-country cases of avian influenza in poultry outbreaks and in live bird markets

CDC Staff in Vietnam
  • 8 U.S. Assignees
  • 60 Locally Employed
Vietnam at a Glance
  • Population: > 97,338,000
  • Per capita income: > $7,230
  • Life expectancy: F 76 / M 71 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 14/1,000 live births

Sources: World Bank 2020, Population Reference Bureau

Vietnam Top 10 Causes of Death
  1. Stroke
  2. Ischemic heart disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. COPD
  5. Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancers
  6. Road injuries
  7. Cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases
  8. Chronic kidney disease
  9. Lower respiratory infections
  10. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

Source: GBD Compare 2019

Page last reviewed: March 31, 2022
Content source: Global Health