Germany supports the Ministry of Health of Viet Nam in response to the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness 2023


On 27 December 2023, in Hanoi, the Ministry of Health organized a ceremony to respond to the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness in 2023. This activity was supported by the Global Programme “Pandemic Prevention and Response, One Health (PPOH)” implemented by GIZ on behalf of the BMZ. Over 200 participants attended the ceremony including representatives of ministries and provincial authorities, national and international organizations in Vietnam.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nguyen Thi Lien Huong , Deputy Minister (DM) of Health emphasized: "The Ministry of Health calls on the whole society to raise awareness of disease prevention and health promotion; to regularly and actively participate in epidemic prevention and control activities”. She urged sectors and localities to coordinate and direct local authorities at all levels and mobilize the whole society, political organizations, and civil society organizations to participate in epidemic prevention and control to proactively prevent outbreaks early and always be prepared to respond to future pandemics/epidemic emergencies. Around the event, the Ministry of Health issued sixteen communication messages to raise awareness on epidemic prevention and to promote healthy lifestyles including, “The whole people and the whole society participate in epidemic prevention and control”.   

On 7 December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly (UN) adopted Resolution A/RES/75/27 proclaiming 27 December as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. This was the first UN General Assembly resolution proposed by Viet Nam – showing the commitment of a country having been severely hit by COVID-19 and several avian influenza outbreaks in the past years . The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Health to actively organize and mobilize domestic and international organizations and individuals to organize annual activities to respond to the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

On the basis of lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Viet Nam Ministry of Health launched the theme for responding to the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness in 2023 as “Toàn dân, toàn xã hội tham gia phòng, chống dịch bệnh” which translates to "a whole of society approach to epidemic preparedness". The UN Secretary-General issued a message of response: “Together, let’s act on the lessons of COVID-19, prepare, and build a fairer, healthier world for all,”.

Through various channels and communication activities, the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness reached a wide range of audiences in Viet Nam to promote healthy lifestyle and people’s awareness on epidemic preparedness. Around 180 participants from various sectors attended the meeting ceremony on Dec 27, 2023 and 40 journalists joined the event to broadcast the news. In addition, the National Television Channel (VTV1), the official state channel of the Vietnamese Government, and the Health and Life Magazine, the official communication channel of the Ministry of Health, featured two talk shows. Thus, the International Day was widely broadcast with the aim of reaching as many people as possible in Vietnam with the aim of raising awareness on epidemic preparedness.

The recent prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic has provided many valuable experiences on high-level leadership, socio-economic coordination, and especially the protection and care for community health in general and epidemic prevention and control in particular. DM Huong, on behalf of the leaders of the Ministry of Health, extended sincere thanks for the close attention and guidance by the Government and the close coordination of ministries, departments and localities. DM Huong also thanked the dedicated support and assistance of international organizations, the contributions of foreign agencies and organizations and especially the solidarity, joint efforts, consensus and active participation of the whole society in epidemic preparedness. Such joint efforts show excellent collaboration with meaningful messages on the spirit of a national unity, love, compassion, expressing the traditions and humanity of the Vietnamese people.

Vietnam has a population of around 99.2 million (2024) and a tropical monsoon climate. The country is among the top 5 ones that are most affected by climate change. It has one of the highest livestock densities in the region. This combined with the increasing demand for trade and tourism, makes Vietnam a ‘hotspot’ for emerging infectious diseases and its spread. Given the growth of globalization, the risk of pandemics is increasing with many new strains and variants of virus over time. As such, infectious diseases are still unpredictable and complicated.

To limit potential outbreaks, prevent and/or be prepared to respond to future epidemics and pandemics early, the Vietnam Ministry of Health will continue to actively apply global health security in epidemic prevention and control to inform and share experiences. The Ministry of Health plans to do this using a One Health approach, including through bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms on the basis of inter-sectoral and multi-field coordination. This demonstrates Vietnam's responsibility and commitment with the international community to respond to future epidemics and pandemics in the framework of One Health.

At the ceremony, the Ministry of Health urged provinces and cities to enhance epidemic prevention, ensure readiness for emergencies, and improve healthcare at all levels, especially in remote and disadvantaged areas. The health sector continues to seek support from leaders and coordination with ministries, departments, and the international community, including Germany through the GIZ.