Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius cut the ribbon to open the Health Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Hanoi on Tuesday.
The center, known as Vietnam EOC, is located in the Ministry of Health office and will receive, analyze, and share information on disease outbreaks from other ministries and organizations to limit the severity of any possible epidemics, the Vietnam News Agency reported, adding that the facility will also set up, plan, and coordinate activities between its subcommittees. “As a WHO Member State, Vietnam is committed to protecting the health of the global community and will do our best to implement WHO’s International Health Regulations,” the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City quoted Minister Tien as saying in a press release issued on Tuesday. The minister also said the Vietnam EOC will help connect the ministry to other partners, both domestic and international, in response to public health emergencies of international concern and prevent them from spreading to Vietnam, the region, and the rest of the world, the press release said. Meanwhile, Ambassador Ted Osius said that the Vietnam EOC is an example of 20 years of the U.S. and Vietnamese governments working closely together, committed as partners, to build upon a foundation that led to the Comprehensive Partnership and the recent Global Health Security Agenda, according to the press release. “It will take many nations, working together, to secure the health and future of all of our children. That is why Global Health Security is so important,” Ambassador Osius was quoted as saying in the press release. “As part of the U.S. Global Health Security Agenda launched in February 2014 by President Obama in collaboration with WHO, U.S. CDC and other U.S. government agencies have been providing support to Vietnam’s government leaders and public health experts to enhance the prevention, detection, and response of disease outbreak emergencies, including upgrading laboratory equipment and information and emergency management systems,” the diplomat added. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Vietnamese ministry’s Preventive Health Department, said that the center has been in trial operations since mid-2014. During the trial period, the Vietnam EOC operated around the clock to receive and handle international epidemic information, especially that on Ebola, measles and avian influenza, Phu said. It also provided relevant health international agencies with information on epidemics in Vietnam, and coordinated with international health experts in assessing the epidemic situation and taking proper prevention and control measures, the official added.