Laying the Foundation for Public Health in Viet Nam
Resource type: Grantee Story
As Viet Nam aspires to greater economic development, the health of its citizens is of primary importance to achieve and sustain growth. For a country with limited resources, good health can only be attained when there are sensible population health policies for allocation of resources for health prevention and treatment. Sound policies and their implementation occur when there is an adequately trained public health work force to carry out the needed research and training. Since 1997, the Government of Viet Nam has recognised the importance of public health in improving the health of the population and mandated the establishment of training and research institutions in all three regions of the country. However, public health is still a fledgling field in Viet Nam, and current academic, outreach programmes and facilities cannot adequately meet the challenge.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
In 2001, the Ha Noi School of Public Health (HSPH) was established as the first university of public health in Viet Nam and quickly became the country’s leading institution for public health training and research. HSPH’s mandate is to be the premier institution for public health teaching and research in the country and a model for the other regions to replicate. Since 2002, Atlantic has provided HSPH with the resources to build up its institutional capacities with clearly defined development targets comparable and compatible with other national and international public health institutions. The grants focused on improving the infrastructure and capacity of the information system and enabling the HSPH to improve human capacity through staff development using available resources from inside and outside of the country.
Even though great progress is being made at HSPH, continuing support is needed in the next five to eight years in order for HSPH to be truly influential in public health in Viet Nam. This current grant is a third in a series of grants designed to enhance teaching and research capacity at HSPH. Supports from Atlantic have been designed around the basic institutional needs of HSPH and have enabled it to plug gaps that other aid programmes failed to address. In particular, this grant seeks (1) to improve the quality training at HSPH to international level; and (2) to develop stronger linkages between HSPH and the policy-making bodies of the Government through the establishment of the Centre for Applied Research and Training in Health Economics and Health Policy.
The HSPH is headed by the Dean, Dr. Le Vu-Anh, who is well-known to Atlantic as being a very efficient and effective grantee. He has an energetic and very capable staff to coordinate and implement sophisticated institutional development projects. The steady growth of the HSPH in recent years under Dr. Anh’s tenure as Dean is a testament to his visionary and pragmatic leadership. Grants from Atlantic have allowed for the strengthening of the development, enabling the school to fulfill its mandate and become the Centre of Excellence in Public Health in Viet Nam.