CDC in Vietnam

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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), a global partnership launched in 2014 to help make the world safer and more secure from infectious diseases.

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

  • Workforce development
  • Early reporting of disease outbreaks
  • Prevention of 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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Event-based surveillance is now routine in Vietnam, with national guidelines issued in March 2018

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CDC helped develop a surveillance system for healthcare-associated infections in 18 hospitals

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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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CDC supported MOH to develop a new Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP). It targets frontline workers at the provincial and district level where the needs are greatest

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Since 2019, 107 surveillance staff have graduated from the 3-month FETP short course program. The 9-month FETP intermediate course started in 2021 and the 12-month FETP advance course will launch in 2022. All trainees are required to complete at least one outbreak investigation during their training

COVID-19

Past investments and decades of global cooperation and support in Global Health Security to respond to outbreaks, control HIVTB, and prepare for influenza and other pandemic diseases built strong foundations upon which 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 respond to COVID-19, including:

  • Development of national guidelines for surveillance, quarantine, laboratory testing, and infection prevention and control
  • Laboratory testing so infections can be identified faster and more accurately
  • Training hospital staff to prevent spread of COVID-19
  • Field investigations to protect communities
  • Data analysis so the government has the most reliable information
  • Training on sample collection, biosafety, and testing for COVID-19
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CDC provided training on COVID-19 testing, biosafety and sample collection in 34 provinces for 120 hospitals and 34 provincial CDCs

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Nearly 3,500 healthcare 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

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, accelerated progress toward the UNAIDS global targets to control the HIV epidemic. CDC leads the public health response to HIV in-country and collaborates with the MOH to introduce state-of-the-art biomedical and scientific innovations to standardize them within the public health system. To control these infectious diseases, CDC:

  • Provides technical assistance
  • Gives support for quality in program models
  • Strengthens HIV lab and diagnostic capabilities
  • Enhances capacity for HIV surveillance, epidemiology, and program monitoring

Since 2004, with the support of PEPFAR, CDC monitors HIV sentinel sites to track the patterns of infection in Vietnam, supports effective and sustainable HIV surveillance, treatment, and prevention programs, and strengthens national systems for TB surveillance, control, diagnosis, and treatment.

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 early 2021, all 57 CDC-supported PEPFAR sites were able to start newly diagnosed HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy on the same day. 67% of new patients benefited from same-day treatment

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By early 2021, 98% of patients on HIV treatment, supported by PEPFAR, achieved undetectable viral suppression. This means they cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. This percentage is highest among PEPFAR countries

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Vietnam MOH, with support from CDC, was the first PEPFAR country to issue communication guidelines on Undetectable= Untransmittable findings in 2019

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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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CDC Vietnam, with PEPFAR support, worked with the MOH to assure that no HIV patient discontinued essential therapy when clusters of COVID-19 infections disrupted some of the nation’s largest treatment sites

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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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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 at 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 an 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, is collaborating 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 healthcare 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 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. Cardiovascular diseases
  2. Neoplasms
  3. Diabetes & kidney diseases
  4. Respiratory infections & TB
  5. Chronic respiratory diseases
  6. Digestive diseases
  7. Unintentional injury
  8. Transport injury
  9. Neurological disorders
  10. Self-harm and violence

Source: GBD Compare 2019

Page last reviewed: August 23, 2021
Content source: Global Health