In love with Vietnam

WHO official praises Vietnam’s effective COVID-19 response

During an interview with Vietnam Pictorial, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Vietnam, Kidong Park, praised the country’s fast and effective response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 30 years of experience in global health, Dr Kidong Park as WHO representative has been supporting the government of Vietnam in providing health care for the entire population.
As the WHO Representative in Vietnam, how would you rate the ability to respond to and control the COVID - 19 epidemic of Vietnam?

Dr Kidong Park: Vietnam has so far been quite successful in flattening the curve, and there have been no deaths reported to date.

WHO believes that this effective management of the COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam can be attributed to three factors. First, Vietnam made significant progress in enhancing its capacities for managing public health emergencies. All the years of investment during the so-called “peace time” is reflected in the country’s response to COVID-19. Second, Vietnam promptly established the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 response, and immediately had in place a national response plan, as well as technical guidelines implemented from central to local levels. These response plans and technical guidelines are continuously revised and updated based on the most recent scientific evidence to suit the evolving outbreak situation. Additionally, there has been persistent and strict application of outbreak response principles: early detection - treatment - contact tracing - quarantine.

Lastly, a whole-of-society approach under the strong leadership at the highest level of the government. The Prime Minister, Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has demonstrated his strong leadership with timely and appropriate directives, and all sectors of this country, as well as its people, have been complying quite well.

Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam. Photo: WHO

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

Dr. Kidong Park has a working session with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health during a working trip
to Vietnam of Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. Photo: WHO

Dr. Kidong Park with WHO staff in Vietnam. Photo: WHO

Dr. Kidong Park going on a field trip and learning about Vietnam's commune health system. Photo: WHO

 How does WHO cooperate with and support Vietnam in the prevention and control of COVID - 19?

Dr. Kidong Park:  Regarding WHO’s support for Viet Nam, since the announcement of the COVID-19 cases in China, WHO was already working closely with the government of Vietnam in enhancing the country’s preparedness and response, including screening at and contingency planning for points of entry, strengthening surveillance and laboratory testing, reinforcing prevention and control measures for acute respiratory infection, detailed investigations and contact tracing for suspected COVID-19 patients, and communicating risks to the public.

We are committed to continued support for Vietnam in the COVID-19 response. WHO continues to facilitate the country’s access to some laboratory supplies required to detect the COVID-19 virus, as well as personal protective equipment for health care workers. Necessary training is supported and ongoing. These include, among others, the introduction of an outbreak investigation tool for field data collection, including contact tracing during public health emergencies like disease outbreaks; training to build the human resource capacity of the designated facilities under the expanded laboratory testing system for COVID-19; and online training in various technical areas, including infection prevention and control and case management.

Dr. Kidong Park talking about the situation of COVID-19 prevention and control in Vietnam
in a meeting with the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 prevention and control. Photo: Van Diep / VNA

Dr. Kidong Park receives Vietnamese contributions to support the COVID-19 Response Fund of WHO. Photo: VNA

 Currently there is no vaccine available for the prevention of COVID – 19. What strategies and policies has WHO done to join hands with Vietnam and other countries in controlling and repelling the COVID epidemic?

Dr. Kidong Park:  WHO proposes global strategic objectives. These include mobilizing all sectors and communities to ensure that every sector of government and society takes ownership of and participates in the response and in preventing cases, controlling sporadic cases and clusters and prevent community transmission by rapidly finding and isolating all cases. The objectives also include reducing deaths by providing appropriate clinical care for those affected by COVID‑19 and developing safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics that can be delivered at scale.

Story: Ngan Ha
Photos: VNA & WHO
Translated by Hong Hanh

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