Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) - Viet Nam

FAO supports Government of Viet Nam to expand influenza surveillance system


With globalization becoming a routine lifestyle, movement of human and animal is becoming more active in a fast pace. Pathogens that join these moving hosts are as well exposed to new environments and adapt along, bringing a higher risk for the ecosystem to encounter potential pandemic threats. Therefore, with the financial support from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID), the Longitudinal Influenza Surveillance Network (LISN) was proposed to be piloted in Viet Nam with the technical support from FAO and WHO.

On 20-21 July, FAO Viet Nam’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) and World Health Organization Viet Nam supported the launch of ‘Coordinated Surveillance for Influenza and Other Viruses of Pandemic Potential Inception workshop’, as a pilot activity under LISN, in Ha Noi. This meeting was organized by the General Department of Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Health (GDPM-MOH) and the Department of Animal Health of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (DAH-MARD) to introduce the concept of coordinated surveillance among public health, livestock and wildlife. LISN aims to reduce the risk and impact of emerging pandemic threats, applying a One Health (OH) approach through the surveillance for influenza A virus and other potential pandemic threats in livestock, wildlife and humans at their interface or points of contacts.

Bringing counterparts from national, regional, provincial level leaders and implementing partners from human and animal/wildlife health sectors, the roles and responsibilities of each implementing partner were discussed and agreed during the workshop. Furthermore a work plan was developed for the period from August 2016 to September 2017. During this implementation time, the coordinated surveillance will be piloted in Dong Thap and Quang Ninh provinces.

What makes the Coordinated Surveillance for Influenza and Other Viruses of Pandemic Potential special is that it will build upon the already existing resources and networks, ultimately increasing the practicality and effectiveness for animal and human health sectors. LISN is not a new surveillance initiative and it is specifically designed based on the existing infrastructure so that it could be sustained without donor support in the future.

Under the Coordinated Surveillance for Influenza and Other Viruses of Pandemic Potential, DAH will utilize the poultry and swine samples that are already collected from existing surveillance programmes in Viet Nam to monitor and characterize influenza viruses and other potential pandemic pathogens. Then, they will share livestock surveillance results with health and wildlife surveillance partners to identify potential relationships with viruses circulating in humans, livestock and wildlife and be able to expand characterisation of influenza viruses found in human and animal, test existing specimens for other viruses with epidemic or pandemic potential. The output will be shared across sectors for joint situation analysis and risk assessment for future policy development in disease control and prevention.

“Health security is the most important goal we all strive to achieve and the collaboration among public, animal and environmental health sectors in this coordinated surveillance could increase the effectiveness of disease detection, prevention and control in all sectors. With existing capacity, system and the strong relationship among all agencies involved in surveillance activities, both from Government of Viet Nam and international development partners, I believe we can all contribute to the Viet Nam and Global health security.” said Pawin Padungtod, the Senior Technical Coordinator of FAO ECTAD Viet Nam.