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UNDP Vietnam supports more than 1 500 RT PCR kits for urgent testing in outbreak hotspots

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam provided more than 1,500 RT PCR test kits for Viet Nam’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to support urgent testing in outbreak hotspots. The test kits, produced locally in compliance with WHO’s technical procedures, were procured with funding from JSB of Japan and Ghen CoVy production team.

Earlier this year, ten Real-Time-PCR testing devices were delivered and installed at the Centers for Disease Control in ten provinces. The testing devices were procured by UNDP with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

On behalf of the Ministry of Health’s leaders, Ms. Phan Le Thu Hang, Deputy Director General of the MOH’s Department of Planning and Finance, acknowledged UNDP’s timely support to Viet Nam in COVID-19 prevention and control efforts. “Since 1978, UNDP has always supported Viet Nam in many ways. Especially in the context of the current outbreak, this provision of test kits is very valuable,” she said. “We really appreciate this support and these test kits will be delivered to the locations where they are most needed”. Ms. Phan Le Thu Hang also affirmed the Ministry of Health’s continued partnership with UNDP in effective health procurement.

Ms. Phan Le Thu Hang, Deputy Director General of the MOH’s Department of Planning and Financ (L) and UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen (R). Photo: UNDP

Handing over the test kits to the Ministry of Health, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen highly appreciated Viet Nam for its determination to implement the dual goals of "containing the COVID-19 pandemic and reviving the economy”. She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to support this effort, building on the existing Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNDP and MOH supporting the health sector on readiness in response to climate change and capacity building for centralized procurement activities.

“The Government has done an extraordinary job in managing the COVID-19 outbreaks in different areas. Viet Nam’s experiences in containing the pandemic, with whole of government and whole of society approaches have been recognized the world over as best practice,” said Ms. Caitlin Wiesen. “I am moved to see the number of doctors and nurses across the country being deployed to Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces. With the funding from JSB of Japan and Ghen CoVy production team, UNDP is providing these test kits to support the urgent testing efforts in these epicenters.”

Ghen CoVy is a health communication campaign on handling corona virus, with an awareness-raising effect of 90 million people’s views (just on one of the official accounts) for the MV and 11 billion people’s interactions for the #handwashingmove #vudieuruatay challenge. UNDP has also worked with MOH and the Ghen CoVy production team to make the song and the dance introduction available in ethnic minority and sign languages to reach the furthest people with prevention messages in their mother tongues.

“The campaign was initiated from the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health with very limited resources in terms of time, human and financial resources,” said Hoang Diem Huyen, Ghen CoV campaign creator. “It is great to have the support and companionship of artists in Viet Nam such as Khac Hung, Min, Erik, Quang Dang, Chau Bui and organizations such as the Ministry of Health of Viet Nam and UNDP. I am glad that this initiative not only helps raise awareness and change behaviors in the fight against COVID-19 but can also contribute tangible assets to the fight against corona virus. Thanks to UNDP, AD Production, Sony, Metub, Khac Hung, Min and the artists who made it happen”.

UNDP has been working closely with relevant ministries and UN organizations to support Viet Nam to respond to COVID-19, as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crisis and shocks. UNDP support the Government’s approach and believes in a multisectoral whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches to face the challenges to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the potentially devastating impact it may have on vulnerable populations and economies.

In support of Viet Nam’s ambitious roadmap for digital transformation to 2025, UNDP COVID-19 response project funded by the Japan’s JSB is supporting the Ministry of Health to pilot a digital telehealth system in remote provinces to reduce disease transmission risk and enhance universal health coverage, including for ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. Meanwhile, a total of 19 robots have been deployed to ten hospitals in six provinces and cities. The robots are being used to protect frontline doctors and nurses as they provide treatment for COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) in these facilities. A digital solution for PPE inventory management has been applied in 13 healthcare facilities and is ready for scaling up and extending to other health commodities.

Tarah Nguyen

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