The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will open a regional office in Hanoi to increase its public health engagement in Southeast Asia, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced after an online ministerial meeting with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hosted by Vietnam on Thursday.
“The CDC is working with Thailand and Vietnam by funding event-based surveillance systems that monitor COVID-19,” the DOS’ press release reads.
The CDC has been leading the U.S. response to COVID-19. It has a number of local offices around the world, mainly in developing countries such as India and Indonesia.
The existing Vietnam office has a staff of 64, according to the CDC website.
In Thursday’s press release, the U.S. State Department affirms that the country stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its ASEAN partners to mitigate the current pandemic, and also to strengthen ASEAN’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to future zoonotic and other infectious disease outbreaks.
Accordingly, the United States has provided more than US$87 million in U.S. government assistance to fight COVID-19 in ASEAN member states.
Announcing new initiatives, the DOS said that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has planned US$1.5 million in funding to support the ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System.
USAID is also investing $16 million in One Health Workforce-Next Generation Project to transform the multi-sectoral health workforce and help ASEAN countries prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies.
At the same time, USAID’s IMPACT MED, a public-private medical education alliance, is expanding with new investments to help Vietnam build health sector capacity and become more prepared for public health threats.
This program combines the strengths of American medical technology companies, Harvard Medical School, five U.S. and Vietnam universities of medicine and pharmacy, the Vietnam Ministry of Health, and USAID.
In addition, the DOS created the Health Futures Alumni Network to bring together the more than 2,400 medical and public health alumni of U.S. exchange programs from ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste.