Saturday , July 13 2024

US, Cần Thơ and An Giang launch effort to prepare for climate change-Induced public health threats

The initiative will pilot provincial-level models that strengthen the climate change-related “One Health” response across the human, animal and environmental health disciplines and will include working with local businesses and women’s unions.

Delegates of USAID, UNDP and Cần Thơ Province pressing the button to launch the project at the opening ceremony on Friday. Photo from USAID

CẦN THƠ The United States Mission to Vietnam, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), have launched an initiative in Cần Thơ and An Giang provinces to build a local framework for them to detect, prevent and respond to climate change-related emerging infectious diseases.

Joining the launch event on Friday were Nguyễn Thực Hiện, the Vice Chairman of Cần Thơ City People’s Committee, Aler Grubbs, USAID/Việt Nam Mission Director and Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Việt Nam.

“USAID and Việt Nam are building on nearly 20 years of our One Health partnership with a new focus on climate change,” said Aler Grubbs at the launch event.

“Today, we are pleased to announce USAID’s One Health project in Việt Nam focused on the connection between climate change and disease threats. We are launching in Cần Thơ city and An Giang province. Together, we will safeguard public health and support a strong, prosperous, independent, and resilient Việt Nam.”

Việt Nam is at a high risk for the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic diseases, or infections spread between animals and people.

Further exacerbating this risk is Việt Nam’s high vulnerability to climate change, including changes in rainfall patterns, saltwater intrusion and more frequent and intense weather patterns and natural disasters.

These can result in increased contact between wildlife, livestock and humans and therefore increased disease spillover risk. Intensifying floods and storms also risk damaging the local health infrastructure and people’s access to health services, impacting health workers’ ability to prevent, detect and control diseases.

The initiative will work with climate-vulnerable Cần Thơ city and An Giang province in the Mekong Delta. The initiative will pilot provincial-level models that strengthen the climate change-related ‘One Health’ response across the human, animal and environmental health disciplines in consultation with local stakeholders, including businesses and women’s unions.

Potential activities include upgrading the primary health infrastructure to support continuity of services during extreme weather events, expanding telehealth options and equipping local authorities and health systems to be better positioned to respond to climate-induced public health threats.

“Intensifying drought, saltwater intrusion and tropical storms in the Mekong Delta can drive outbreaks of dengue and other vector-borne diseases, as well as infectious disease spillovers from animals to humans, ” said UNDP Resident Representative in Việt Nam, Ramla Khalidi at the event. ” The project will support authorities, communities and other partners in Cần Thơ and An Giang to detect, prevent and respond to climate change-related public health threats, recognising that human health is closely connected to the health of animals and the environment.

The United States is a committed partner of Việt Nam in addressing long-standing and emerging infectious disease threats, in line with the two countries’ shared priorities under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. VNS

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