Vietnam will host one of two global health security centers the US plans to establish to combat new epidemics, under an agreement signed by the two countries on Monday.
Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien made the announcement at a ceremony where she signed the agreement with the US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Sebelius signed the agreement on the first day of her two-day visit to Vietnam.
According to Tien, Vietnam was chosen for its healthcare system, which the US deems to be "quite good."
Moreover, the country successfully curbed the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2003, while its influenza A/H5N1 (bird flu) fatality rate is lower than other countries in the Southeast Asia, she said.
The new agreement, which expands upon the one the two countries signed more than five years ago, also prioritizes preventive medicine and combating HIV/AIDS, the minister was quoted as saying.
Since June 2004, Vietnam has been one of the 15 countries to receive aid from the US.'s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the report said.
Approximately US$93 million in funds from the program has been sent to local government agencies in Vietnam, according to the news report, adding that the funding accounted for a majority of Vietnam's budget dedicated to fighting and preventing HIV/AIDS.
The US has also supported Vietnam in preventive health field, including helping the latter produce flu vaccines in preparation for epidemics.
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