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Dialogue Event: Non - communicable, infectious and environmental disease interfaces

Dialogue Event

Non - communicable, infectious, and environmental disease interfaces: Challenges and opportunities for research and intervention in Vietnam

24 - 25 March 2015

Hanoi, March 24 2015 – The dialogue event “Non – communicable, infectious and environmental disease interfaces: Challenges and opportunities for research and intervention in Vietnam” took place in Hanoi on March 24 and 25, 2015. It was organized by the Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH), Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and Novartis Foundation. During the dialogue event, the organizers and invited guests discussed and setted priorities for public health issues related to non-communicable, infectious and environmental disease interfaces in Vietnam.

Photo: Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen has the opening speech

The organizers were pleased to invite: Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Xuyen; Ambassador of Switzerland in Vietnam, Andrej Motyl; Deputy Dean of HSPH, Tran Huu Bich; Deputy Director of Swiss TPH, Nino Kunzli: Head of Novartis Foundation, Ann Aerts; Chief Representative of Novartis in Vietnam, Philippe de Pougnadoresse; and experts in the field of public health in Vietnam, Switzerland and other countries.

The dialogue event aimed to bring different stakeholders together to discuss, identify and prioritize key issues of public health at the interface of infectious, non-communicable and environmental diseases in Vietnam. The program included expert inputs, current best practices, and discussion platforms in the plenary as well as in parallel workshops.

In the opening speech at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen mentioned: "Strengthening the scientific research, disseminating and apply the research results contribute to people health protection and health care. This is an important task of the health sector. In particular the health sector looks at the interface of non-communicable diseases, infectious and environmental diseases as an important priority”.

Like many former low income countries, Vietnam has seen a rapid epidemiologic transition. While infectious diseases remain a public health challenge, non-communicable diseases have also emerged. The transition is also characterized by increasing urbanization and a change in lifestyle due to additional pressures on environmental quality. The Vietnam report of the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) ranks stroke, ischemic heart disease, liver cancer, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) as the four leading causes of death, responsible for >150,000 death per year. After dietary risks and smoking, household and ambient air pollution (taken together) has become the third-ranking risk factor of disease burden. With 78 cases per 100,000 populations (2011), dengue incidence has steadily become an important vector-borne infectious disease, resulting in about 70,000 cases every year not further specified in the GBD. Other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of public health importance in Vietnam include avian influenza H5N1, pandemic influenza, cholera, hand-foot-mouth disease, measles, and rabies.

Photo: The Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam Mr. Adrej Motyl at the event

Dr. Ann Aerts, Head of Novartis Foundation said “it is vital that stakeholders from academia, government, the private sector and civil society to come together and discuss today’s most important health challenges, and define a path forward. Today’s workshop in Vietnam presents an important opportunity to discuss the complex intersection of infectious and non – communicable diseases along with environmental health challenges, and collaborate with the goal of improving health outcomes for the people of Vietnam”.

Photo: Dr. Ann Aert - Head of Novartis Foundation

Prof. Nino Kunzli, Deputy Director of Swiss TPH, said "In light of the accelerated epidemic of non-communicable diseases coupled with infectious diseases it is essential to understand the consequences, causes and prevention of these trends. Research collaborations between countries is vital to address these global challenges. Moreover, policy makers need to understand that the key drivers of health do not just depend on personal decisions or choices such as nutrition or life styles. There is a strong need that governments apply scientific evidence to policies to prevent accident related injuries or the hazardous exposures to pollution in the air, the soil or the drinking water."

Photo: Prof. Nino Künzli, Deputy Director of Swiss TPH

The results of this dialogue event will be used to determine the next phase of research and intervention in Vietnam regarding non-communicable, infectious and environmental diseases in Vietnam. "This activity is part of the research partnership framework between the Hanoi School of Public Health and Swiss Tropical and Public Health (Swiss TPH) that has been established for 6 years. HSPH appreciates very much the fact that Swiss TPH has been very supportive to the development of the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at HSPH”, said Tran Huu Bich, Deputy Dean of HSPH.

Photo: Associate Prof. Tran Huu Bich, Deputy Dean of Hanoi School of Public Health

HSPH, Swiss TPH, and Novartis Foundation are committed to working closely together to mobilize resource to develop research activities to ensure continued success and sustainability of research in the field of public health for a healthier society and a more sustainable future.


Presentations at the dialogue event

Title of presentation



Session 1: Setting the scene: Non-communicable, infectious and environmental disease interface in Vietnam

Burden of diseases in Vietnam: current situation and future trends

Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung, HSPH

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Dual Burden of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases – Public Health Challenges

Prof. Nicole Probst-Hensch, Swiss TPH

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Infectious disease challenges of today: dengue in Vietnam

Prof. Vu Sinh Nam, NIHE

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The role of urban air pollution for non-communicable and infectious diseases.

Prof. Nino Künzli, Swiss TPH

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Role of the private sector in addressing the dual disease burden

Dr. Ann Aerts, Novartis Foundation

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Informing health policy through research and Advocacy: an academic perspective

Prof. Pham Viet Cuong, HSPH

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Session 2: Landscape of NCD-infectious and environmental diseases and policy making: experiences and lessons learnt from Vietnam and other models

An Introduction to One Health and Ecohealth

Prof. Jakob Zinsstag, Swiss TPH

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Using mHealth to address the dual burden of disease – a teleconsultation approach

Ms. Christina Wadhwani, NF

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Know Your Numbers Campaign - hypertension screening and treatment program from PSI

Dr. Josselyn Neukom, PSI Vietnam CPO

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Eliminate Dengue project – BMGF/FHI 360

Prof. Vu Sinh Nam, NIHE

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Policy success example from private sector and Civil Social Organisation: health insurance 

Dr. Tran Tuan, RTCCD

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Health in all policies in a changing environment: using health impact assessment to support policies

Dr. Laura Perez, Swiss TPH

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Link to the Dialogue Event Website: http://cenpher.huph.edu.vn/dialogueevent