US president praises Vietnam’s bird flu fight

21-11-2006 | |

During a tour of a Vietnamese bird flu laboratory, US President George W Bush praised Vietnam for its successful battle against AI, while also pledging his support for the region’s preparation for a potential pandemic.

Crowds gathered in the streets to welcome Bush to the Pasteur Institute, a Vietnamese research institute for communicable diseases in southern Ho Chi Minh City.
The visit was Bush’s first trip to Vietnam, which had just hosted the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hanoi.
Bush congratulated health officials on Vietnam’s effort to combat bird flu, which earlier killed 42 people in Vietnam, but has not claimed any victims during the past 12 months nor been detected in any poultry this year.
Vietnam’s success is largely credited to a nationwide poultry vaccination campaign and strong political will to root out the virus.
“Vietnam is serving as a model of how people ought to react,” Bush said, vowing to continue supporting the country’s fight against bird flu and HIV/AIDS.
“The visit was very short, but it was a very significant one because the US government, Vietnamese government, and governments worldwide are very interested in HIV/AIDS and avian influenza control,” said institute director Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.
During his trip, Bush has praised cooperation among Southeast Asian nations and the United States on fighting bird flu, but has emphasised that the region must not relax its efforts to prevent future outbreaks and prepare for a pandemic.