Viet Nam and the US on July 20 signed their first official agreement promising continued cooperation on health issues, including emerging diseases, avian and pandemic influenza and HIV/AIDS.
The Agreement on Health and Medical Science was signed in Washington by Vietnamese Minister of Health Tran Thi Trung Chien and U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt during Minister Chien's visit to the US from July 17-22.
The agreement includes the exchange of information and technical expertise, the development of rapid response plans for Viet Nam, personnel training, vaccine production and pharmaceutical product management.
The agreement, a follow up to the letter of intent of cooperation signed by both parties in October 2005 in Ha Noi, will take effect as of the signing date and will last for five years.
While in the US, Minister Chien met with the US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs and the General Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. She discussed with the World Bank's Director for Human Development and Healthcare about the progress in Viet Nam's plan of action on avian influenza and its preparations for responding to avian influenza on humans.
The Minister also worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a number of medical organisations.
During the meetings, the Vietnamese Minister informed the US parties of the Vietnamese National Assembly's approval of the Law on HIV/AIDS Prevention, which will lay a firm foundation for the health sector to expand its preventive and cooperative activities.
She spoke highly of the US's timely assistance to Viet Nam in the area of healthcare over recent years, particularly in the fight against SARS, avian influenza and HIV/AIDS.
She proposed that the US parties further their assistance to Viet Nam in training personnel and upgrading laboratories and equipment.
The US parties praised Viet Nam's efforts in combating bird flu, saying that Viet Nam is considered a success story and the global health community is studying its actions to be able to duplicate Viet Nam's success.