Opening Remarks by Ambassador Ted Osius at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of U.S.- Vietnam Health Cooperation

Cảm ơn Bộ trưởng Bộ Y tế Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến.

Thưa Bộ trưởng Bộ Y tế Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến, thưa Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Hà Kim Ngọc, thưa Chủ nhiệm Uỷ ban các vấn đề xã hội của Quốc hội Trương Thị Mai, thưa các vị khách quý và quý vị.

Secretary of State John Kerry said, he “cannot think of two countries that have worked harder to bring themselves together and provide a better future for their people.”

This rings especially true for our partnership to improve the health, welfare and safety of the Vietnamese people and, by extension, the people of this region and of the world.

For twenty years, since we normalized relations, our health collaboration has saved countless lives in Vietnam and beyond.

Together we have prevented the spread of deadly and debilitating disease.

Together we have made Vietnam’s health care sector stronger and more responsive to the needs of the average citizen.

Together we have given hope to Vietnam’s most vulnerable populations.

Together we have proved that one can lead a long and fulfilling life regardless of HIV status.

We embarked on this health partnership even before normalization in 1995.

We exchanged health experts, who built trust and understanding between our countries, which helped us later to normalize relations. This trust established health cooperation as a basis for our overall relationship.

Since normalization, U.S. government health programs in Vietnam have totaled over $900 million dollars, accounting for approximately 75% of U.S. Government assistance in Vietnam. Civil society and the private sector have contributed far more.

The most significant component of this assistance is work under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR program, in place since 2004. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government is the largest supporter of Vietnam’s HIV response.

Through PEPFAR, over 100,000 people in Vietnam are on ARV treatment and over 40,000 people are on methadone maintenance treatment.

This achievement is due to unwavering commitment by many of you to help people living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.

In addition, the United States is the largest bilateral supporter of influenza prevention and control in Vietnam.

We recognize in today’s increasingly interconnected world, diseases pay no attention to borders.

No nation alone can prevent or control the spread of disease. Since 2005, the United States and Vietnam have worked closely together to support the establishment of the first ever surveillance network for influenza, conducted research and developed policies for influenza vaccine development, and helped respond to and control H5N1 human outbreaks in Vietnam.

Since last year, we have also strengthened our partnership under the Global Health Security Agenda.

I had the pleasure earlier this year, with my friend Minister Tien, to inaugurate the Emergency Operations Center in Hanoi.

This Center will help Vietnam monitor and respond to potential disease outbreaks, such as when it was activated during the recent Ebola epidemic.

We tackle these challenges together not only to benefit our two countries, but the region and world.

That is how my friend, Vice Foreign Minister Ngoc, said we should extend our partnership, so that it also benefits the region and the world.

Our health partnership also extends to numerous other areas, including tuberculosis, malaria, tobacco control, road safety, food safety, disabilities, disaster preparedness, coastal medicine, and infectious disease prevention and control.

We have achieved so much together in only 20 years.

Imagine what we can do together over the next 20.

I am confident our health cooperation will deepen and broaden into new and exciting areas.

Anything is possible when it comes to what our two countries can do together. Thank you for your dedication and hard work.

You represent the best of the best from the United States and Vietnam.

Tôi chúc quý vị mạnh khoẻ và hạnh phúc trên chặng đường chúng ta tiếp tục đồng hành với tư cách là những đối tác.

Cảm ơn tất cả quý vị.