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US to Open Southeast Asia CDC Office in Hanoi

The office will allow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to have an increased presence in monitoring, aiding responses to, and learning from health issues, including COVID-19, in Southeast Asia.

Following an online meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a press release titled "The Enduring U.S. Commitment to ASEAN" that included an announcement of a regional CDC office in Hanoi.

The text stated that the office is part of larger ongoing efforts to "help countries prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies." The US government has already provided US$87 million in assistance to fight COVID-19 in the region, including supplying medical equipment such as ventilators.

The CDC is America's foremost health protection agency, and it already operates an office in Vietnam with 64 employees. It actively engages in researching and combating public health issues and has recently been working to study the emergence and spread of COVID-19. Earlier in the year, the CDC announced an initial grant of US$3.9 million to support prevention, preparedness, and response to the virus in Vietnam. 

In addition to the new office, according to Tuoi Tre, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is planning to support the ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System via US$1.5 million in funding. The agency has also pledged US$16 million to support the One Health Workforce-Next Generation Project, which aims to improve the multi-sector health workforce in the region.

Additionally, they are supporting IMPACT MED, a public-private medical education alliance that seeks to improve Vietnam's health sector through collaborations with American and Vietnamese universities, agencies, and medical technology companies.

[Photo via Wikimedia]