VietNam – The US Government will provide 7.3 million USD through the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to Vietnam to implement two projects on preventing and combating bird flu.

The documents relating to the projects were signed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan and FAO Representative Andrew Speedy, in Hanoi on April 8.

The two projects cover the provision of technical assistance for improvement of preparedness in response to HPAI (third phase) and date collection in service of shifting of H5N1 vaccination strategy in Vietnam.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Michael W. Michalak said the US Government has since 2005 doled out around 50 million USD for the fight against bird flu in Vietnam.

He pledged that through the newly-signed projects and other activities, the US will continue to work closely with other donors to assist Vietnam to shift from a large-scale vaccination for poultry against avian influenza to a more sustainable bird flu control strategy.

Statistics show that bird flu has attacked Vietnam five times since 2003, affecting 60 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces and costing the lives of 54 people out of the 109 cases of human infection. Since the beginning of this year, bird flu has claimed the lives of three people.

Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan said Vietnam has mobilised the entire political system in monitoring the implementation of the bird flu national response programme.

He also reported that the Vietnamese government has spent almost 130 million USD from the State budget for the prevention and control of bird flu.