While Vietnam has seen significant development in recent years, particularly in urban areas, it remains a poor country, with significant poverty in remote rural areas. One in three children is stunted as a result of poor nutrition during their formative years. Many of those children are at risk from disease, partly due to vulnerability as a result of poor nutrition, but also because of poor public health and sanitation. Thirteen per cent of households in Vietnam are food insecure. More than 60 per cent of the population is dependant pm agriculture, and while the country has some highly productive agricultural land it is in short supply and there are large portions of the country – particularly the highland regions—where the land is not productive. Not surprisingly those areas, home to many of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities, are the poorest in the country.
SMALL STEPS TO GREAT SOLUTIONS
The work of VWB/VSF volunteers in Vietnam is focused at the national level through the Center for Public Health & Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at the Hanoi School of Public Health and many of the positions are highly technical. That includes a biostatistical epidemiologist to help with data analysis and interpretations from CENPHER research, a community-based participatory research specialist to improve capacity for health research at the community level, a food safety policy advisor, and a grant writing specialist to help secure funds for ongoing research. Other positions include a health impact and risk assessment specialist to assess risks from zoonotic diseases as well as food safety and environmental and occupational risks associated with agriculture, a health economist to evaluate the impact of CENPHER’s research work, a health curriculum development specialist to help develop a One Health training curriculum, and a science communications specialist to help disseminate research findings to people who can implement those findings,