Vietnam


Makara market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On 1–2 September 2021, the World Health Organization regional office for Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific hosted a bi-regional advocacy meeting on risk mitigation in traditional food markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Traditional food markets are an important source of affordable, fresh food and contribute to the nutrition, health and livelihoods of many people. However, there are often concerns about the safety of food sold in these markets on account of inadequate facilities and weak food safety regulation.

The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • support national authorities to advocate for improved traditional food markets;
  • discuss strategies to mitigate the risks of unsafe food and spillover of pathogens;
  • present a manual to support risk assessment and mitigation in traditional food markets; and
  • share lessons from member states on improving traditional food markets.

Hung Nguyen-Viet, co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), presented an overview of traditional food markets in Asia Pacific, with reference to research projects by ILRI and partners on improving food safety and reducing risks in informal markets in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Citation

Hung Nguyen-Viet, Lindahl, J., Unger, F. and Grace, D. 2021. Overview of traditional food markets in Asia Pacific. Presentation at a bi-regional advocacy meeting on risk mitigation in traditional food markets in the Asia Pacific region, 1–2 September 2021. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Photo credit: Makara market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (ILRI/Hardisman Dasman)

A local cattle owner walks his cattle on a rainy day in Hung Yen province, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen).

The One Health concept promotes the enhancement of human, animal and ecosystem health through multi-sectoral governance support and policies to combat health security threats.

In Vietnam, antimicrobial resistance in animal and human health settings poses a significant threat, but one that could be minimised by adopting a One Health approach to antimicrobial resistance surveillance.

Vietnam is a potential hotspot for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance due to the high burden of infectious diseases that are directly transmissible and that are foodborne, coupled with limited enforcement of regulations to penalise non-compliance, and the relatively unregulated access to antimicrobials for humans and high antimicrobial usage for livestock.

To advance understanding of the willingness and abilities of the human and animal health sectors to investigate antimicrobial resistance through a One Health approach, a recent study published in BMC Public Health (February 2020) explored the perceptions and experiences of those tasked with investigating antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam, and the benefits a multi-sectoral approach offers.

The study used qualitative methods to provide key informants’ perspectives from the animal and human health sectors. Two scenarios of foodborne antimicrobial resistance bacteria found within the pork value chain were used as case studies to investigate challenges and opportunities for improving collaboration across different stakeholders and to understand benefits offered by a One Health approach surveillance system.

Fifteen semi-structured interviews with 11 participants from the animal and six from the human health sectors at the central level in Hanoi and the provincial level in Thai Nguyen were conducted.

Eight themes emerged from the transcripts of the interviews. From the participants’ perspectives on the benefits of a One Health approach: (1) communication and multi-sectoral collaboration, (2) building comprehensive knowledge and (3) improving likelihood of success. Five themes emerged from participants’ views of the challenges to investigate antimicrobial resistance: (4) diagnostic capacity, (5) availability and access to antibiotics, (6) tracing ability within the Vietnamese food chain, (7) personal benefits and (8) Managing the system.

The findings of the study suggest that there is potential to strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration between the animal and human health sectors in Vietnam by building on existing informal networks.

Based on these results, the authors of the study recommend an inclusive approach to multi-sectoral communication supported by government network activities to facilitate partnerships and create cross-disciplinary awareness and participation.

The themes relating to diagnostic capacity show that both the animal and human health sectors face challenges in carrying out investigations on antimicrobial resistance although based on the results, there is a greater need to strengthen the animal health sector.

Citation
Mitchell, M.E.V., Alders, R., Unger, F., Hung Nguyen-Viet, Trang Thi Huyen Le and Toribio, J.-A. 2020. The challenges of investigating antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam – what benefits does a One Health approach offer the animal and human health sectors? BMC Public Health 20: 213.

Photo credit: A local cattle owner walks his cattle on a rainy day in Hung Yen province, Vietnam (ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen)

Crop-livestock systems in Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Hung Nguyen-Viet).

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that commonly occurs in warm, tropical climates. It is characterized by high fever and flu-like symptoms that can last for up to one week. In a small proportion of cases, severe dengue may occur, leading to bleeding and low blood pressure. There is no specific treatment for infection but medication can be taken to control symptoms.

Climate change and rapid unplanned urbanization are among the factors that have brought people into more frequent contact with the vectors, thus contributing to further spread of disease.

According to the World Health Organization, the global incidence of dengue has risen dramatically in recent decades, with an estimated 390 million dengue infections annually.

Vietnam is one of at least 100 countries where the disease is now endemic. Dengue infection in Vietnam is unstable but peaks from June to October annually.

As part of efforts to curb the spread of dengue in Vietnam, research efforts are being undertaken to develop tools that will enable timely detection and control of the disease. One such research study recently examined seasonal trends of dengue in Vietnam and used the data to develop a statistical model to forecast the incidence of the disease.

The study, published in PLOS ONE (27 Nov 2019), was carried out by a team of researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute and Vietnamese partners from Hanoi University of Public Health, the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

To develop the statistical risk forecasting model, the researchers used dengue surveillance data that had been collected by health centres in Vietnam’s 63 provinces between 2001 and 2012. In addition, they obtained monthly meteorological data from the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology and Climate Change. Land cover data were obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer website of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The data were also used to develop risk maps of dengue incidence showing the distribution of the incidence of infection in the wet and dry seasons. The researchers are optimistic that with these new risk-based forecasting tools, policymakers and planners in Vietnam will be better able to predict dengue incidence in the country and thus respond in a timely manner to effectively control the disease.

Citation
Bett, B., Grace, D., Hu Suk Lee, Lindahl, J., Hung Nguyen-Viet, Phuc Pham-Duc, Nguyen Huu Quyen, Tran Anh Tu, Tran Dac Phu, Dang Quang Tan and Vu Sinh Nam. 2019. Spatiotemporal analysis of historical records (2001–2012) on dengue fever in Vietnam and development of a statistical model for forecasting risk. PLOS ONE 14(11): e0224353.

Photo credit: Crop-livestock systems in Vietnam (ILRI/Hung Nguyen)

Hung Nguyen-Viet, regional representative for East and Southeast Asia and senior scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute, conducts food safety research in Vietnam. In this video by the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), he talks about the importance of partnership in this work.

Read more about A4NH’s work in food safety.

A4NH 2017 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2017 annual report which highlights the program’s accomplishments and activities during the first year of its second phase.

Detailed in the report are research, events and results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and four focus countries, including:

  • in-depth analyses of food systems in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam, with a recently released report on findings in Ethiopia;
  • details on the release of 29 new biofortified crop varieties, extending reach to 3.6 million farming households;
  • the first licence for Aflasafe to be granted to a private company in Africa, for production, sale, and distribution in the Gambia and Senegal to protect crops from aflatoxin;
  • a special issue of the journal Global Food Security dedicated to stories of change, an innovative initiative building a resource base of experiential knowledge that explores drivers of change in improving nutrition;
  • research into how rice intensification in Africa can be achieved without increasing the risk of malaria; and
  • efforts on incorporating equity into A4NH’s research agenda.

Download the annual report or read an interactive online version.

ILRI Asia

A two-year project that will assess veterinary health management and veterinary drug use in Vietnamese pig farms has been launched.

The Health and Antibiotics in the Vietnamese Pig Production Project, known as VIDAPIG, is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the National Institute of Veterinary Research, the National Institute of Nutrition and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

It will carry out research to identify and evaluate factors affecting veterinary health and veterinary drug use with the aim of establishing antimicrobial usage practices that are based on a One Health approach across the smallholder pig sector.

The project will be implemented from February 2018 to January 2020 in Bac Ninh Province.

Inception workshop of VIDAPIG project in Hanoi, 2 March 2018From left: Hung Nguyen, ILRI regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, Anders Dalsgaard from the University of Copenhagen, Pham Thi Ngoc, deputy director of the National Institute of Veterinary Research and Le Danh Tuyen, director…

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ILRI news

A local pork vendor at the wet market sells her meat to two local women, Hung Yen province, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen).

This article is written by Chi Nguyen, communications officer for ILRI Asia.

A two-day workshop, 7–8 Sep 2017, on the topic of ‘Improving food safety along the pork value chain—lessons learned and ways forward’, kicked off at the Hanoi Hotel on Thursday morning with an opening address by Chu Van Chuong, deputy director of the international cooperation department of the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In his speech, Chuong said, ‘We look forward to further improvements through projects such as those being reviewed today. In the context of food safety, projects like PigRISK and SafePORK are welcome as they can provide policymakers and the public with scientific evidence that leads to actionable policy options to better manage food safety and provide assurance to producers…

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ILRI news

Cover of the new World Bank food safety in Vietnam report: Please check back here in another three days to get a link to the report online.

This post is written by Chi Nguyen, communications officer for ILRI in East and Southeast Asia (c.nguyen [at] cgiar.org).

A report launched this week on managing risks to food safety in Vietnam was prepared by the World Bank and other research and development partners at the request of the Government of Vietnam. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was the lead technical partner in development of the report.

Food Safety Risk Management in Vietnam: Challenges and opportunities, launched on 27 Mar 2017, includes an urgent call for better management of food safety issues in Vietnam and more effective communications to raise public awareness of food safety issues. The report found that the primary cause of food-borne illness in Vietnam comes from…

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ILRI news

Selling pork in a traditonal Vietnamese market

Selling pork at a traditional ‘wet’ market in Hung Yen province, northern Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/HUPH/Ngan Tran).

Pork meat sold in Vietnam has been found by researchers to commonly carry bacteria that could cause disease—but they also found that the risk of that meat sickening people is largely reduced due to the Vietnamese habit of buying very fresh meat and cooking it shortly thereafter.

The research results indicate ways that the safety of pork meat can be even further improved in this fast-growing and -evolving market. The bottom line is that ensuring safe pork consumption in Vietnam is very important—and very doable.

Conspicuous (pork) consumption

Pigs and pig keeping, and pork and pork eating, are ubiquitous in Vietnam, where pork remains the favoured meat—the food choice of both the poor and the rich, of the rural farm worker and the urban elite. Pork is consumed daily and widely in Vietnamese…

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Hung Nguyen-Viet receives the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health 'Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth' award

Hung Nguyen-Viet (left) receives the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health (IEAH) ‘Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth’ award from former IEAH president Jakob Zinsstag (photo credit: ILRI/Tarni Cooper).

Hung Nguyen-Viet, a senior scientist in food safety and ecohealth at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was named the winner of the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH) Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth Award together with Jonathan Kingsley of the University of Melbourne.

IAEH is a scholarly organization whose membership is drawn from all continents. Its mission is to strive for sustainable health of people, wildlife and ecosystems by promoting discovery, understanding and transdisciplinarity.

The award was given in recognition of Hung’s leadership, mentorship, research and writing on topics of domestic and global significance, including health, agriculture, food safety and infectious and zoonotic diseases at ILRI and at the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER), Hanoi University of Public Health.

Hung received the award at the closing ceremony of the 4th International One Health Congress and 6th IAEH Biennial Congress held in Melbourne, Australia on 3–7 December 2016.

“I strongly believe that ecohealth and One Health are good approaches to address complex health and environmental problems,” said Hung in his acceptance speech.

“Let us all work together and advance ecohealth,” he urged his colleagues.

Hung is a Vietnamese national and holds a PhD in Life and Environmental Sciences from Besançon, France. He co-founded and led CENPHER where he has been coordinating a regional program called Ecohealth Field Building Leadership Initiative in Southeast Asia from 2012 to 2016. In addition to his research role at ILRI, he is the institute’s acting regional representative for East and Southeast Asia based in Hanoi. He is also an honorary professor at Hanoi University of Public Health.

Congratulations, Hung!

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