Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of The Workshop on the country self-assessment of the IHR (2005) implementation

Dr Kidong Park
17 October 2018

Today, we have gathered to conduct a self-assessment exercise on Viet Nam’s core capacity to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.

Dr Kidong Park giving speech at the workshop

IHR self-assessment is one of the four components of the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework – the global initiative to monitor progress and evaluate country IHR capacities. The other three are the joint external evaluation (JEE), which was conducted in Viet Nam in 2016; the after action reviews; and the simulation exercises. At this point, you might already be asking: why do we have to conduct so many monitoring and evaluation activities?

The answer is simple: we need to ensure that we are prepared for public health emergencies. For every monitoring and evaluation we carry out, we learn, we improve, we become better prepared.

The outcome of this two-day exercise will determine whether the country was able to maintain core capacities which were achieved and strengthen other core capacities in which some gaps were identified during last self-assessment in 2017.

I would recap the result of last year’s self-assessment: 5 out of 13 core capacities were either fully achieved or achieved more than 90%, while another 8 core capacities achieved less than 90%, ranged from 53% to 89%. These included preparedness, laboratory, chemicals, food safety, point of entry, radiologicals, human resources, and response.

The report also revealed the urgent needs of and remaining gaps in Viet Nam’s core capacities to manage public health emergencies. This was also noted in the first visit, earlier this year, of the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (IOAC), which aimed to better understand the country’s successes and challenges on health security. The mission concluded that while Viet Nam had impressive progress in enhancing core capacities, overall preparedness would need to be further strengthened. In particular, multisector coordination is vital in this context.

This morning, we visited health quarantine posts at Hai Phong port and Cat Bi Airport, a point of entry of Viet Nam designated according to the IHR (2005). It provided an ample opportunity to observe how core capacity of the IHR (2005) is exercised in the field. We confirmed that it is necessary that effective measures at POE are in place to ensure public health emergency preparedness, in collaboration with regional and international partners.

Conducting the annual IHR self-assessment demonstrates Viet Nam’s strong commitment in improving its IHR core capacities and taking its part in the global initiative to protect 1 billion more people from health emergencies. Findings from the annual IHR self-assessment should be translated into the National Action Plan to further strengthen and maintain core capacities systematically by the whole of government approach. In 2017, we made a big leap forward on developing the IHR Master Plan. Now that we are at the final stages of its development, it is expected that this year’s IHR self-assessment will provide us with the most updated insights on the status of health emergency preparedness in the country, which will be beneficial in further strengthening the IHR Master Plan.

I thank you again all for your participation, and we look forward to a fruitful discussion. I’m confident that we will confirm your passion and hard work in advancing health security over the past year with high level of achievement of IHR core capacities.

Thank you