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VOHUN strategic planning meeting - The Foundation for Sustainable Development of VOHUN

The Vietnam One Health University Network (VOHUN) was established on 22/11/2011, with the participation of 17 Universities/Faculties/Departments implementing teaching and research on medicine and veterinary medicine in Vietnam. Two years after establishment a number of activities have been held in Vietnam, both national and international. VOHUN has shown positive results in introducing the concept of One Health to the scientific community in the country, particularly in the teaching activities in faculties of medicine and veterinary medicine. The strategic planning meeting is designed to define the organizational objectives that need to be achieved in future years and how to achieve those objectives.

The concept of "One Health" is understood as the efforts of multi-disciplinary collaboration at the global, regional and country level to achieve optimal health for people, animals and the environment. The "One Health" approach has received strong interest from the Government of Vietnam, expressed through many national and local activities. Some highlights related to One Health over the last two year operation include the National Convention on the application of a One Health approach to the risk of infectious diseases in human - animal ecosystems in Vietnam; (ii) a Joint Circular from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development providing Guidelines for coordination on prevention of disease transmission from animals to humans; (iii) Development of necessary capacity to support the One Health approach; (iv) Building and develop One Health courses into training programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

However a in the coming years, VOHUN will face with some challenges i.e., how to operate VOHUN effectively and sustainably to provide long-term support to solve problems related to population health and development; how to maintain commitment as an active member of the SEAOHUN network (South East Asia One Health University Network); and how to contribute to the sustainable development of SEAOHUN. Thus, the development of a high quality strategic planning for VOHUN should be carried out as a priority with consensus from all members. This requires active participation of the network members with initiative and commitment to the activities. The strategic planning is also where VOHUN members can establish and develop new partners and seek multilateral funding besides the support of USAID/RESPOND for the network’s development.

The VOHUN strategic planning meeting was successfully held in Nha Trang on July 16th – 17th 2013 with a highly participated of 34 representative leaders of University/Faculty members of VOHUN. The vision, mission, value and strategy were developed and agreed by all VOHUN members, including i) Control of infectious and zoonotic diseases and other health issues in Vietnam using One Health approach; ii) Provide high quality of training, research and consultancy services for control process to control the spread of infectious and zoonotic diseases and other health issues; iii) Share knowledge, skills and always enhanced the quality of information as the key to success; iv) Follow-up the roadmap towards the identified vision and mission of VOHUN. The detailed strategic plan will be completed with the active participation and commitment of all VOHUN members as soon as possible.

Participants at the VOHUN Strategic Planning Meeting in Nha Trang, Vietnam, July 2013