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The Globe - Issue 02 - School of Public Health and Community ...

The Globe - Issue 02 - School of Public Health and Community ...

The Globe - Issue 02 - School of Public Health and Community

TheGlobeSEPTEMBER 2008Newsletter of the School of Public Health and Community MedicineGlobal health: engaging with VietnamVietnam is a beautiful countrywith a history of resilience toconflicts, epidemics and otherchallenges to health. It is also one ofthe quiet Asian ‘power houses’ witheconomic growth averaging over7% per annum over the last decade.Although the per capita GDP ofVietnam in 2006 was US$722 andpoverty is still significant, comparedwith some countries with the sameGDP per capita, Vietnam has goodhealth achievements. Life expectancyat birth has increased steadily, andin 2005 it was 71.5 years; the infantmortality rate for children under onehas reduced from 31 per 1000 livebirths in 2000 to 17.8 in 2005; theunder five mortality rate has fallen from30 per 1000 live births in 2000 downto 19 in 2005 due to the success ofpublic health programs in nutrition,immunisation and health care formothers and children.Some of the major issues Vietnamis now facing are how to deal withinequalities in health and also thetransition to non-communicablediseases while still dealing with majorinfectious disease concerns such asSARS and avian flu.The School has had a long andpositive relationship with individualsin Vietnam for over a decade. Overtwenty students have completed theirMasters; some in Public Health (MPH),Health Administration (MHA) andHealth Professional Education programs.Most were supported through AusAIDor WHO Fellowships. Many of thesestudents have returned home and gainedpromotions in their organisations, orhave accepted new roles and postsin a range of government and nongovernmentagencies.A number of academic staff hasalso worked on projects in Vietnam,which have resulted in longstandingrelationships and strong personal bonds.We have graduates in the Institute ofHygiene and Public Health based inHo Chi Minh City, the Hanoi Schoolof Public Health, Hanoi MedicalUniversity and other medical universitiesthroughout the country. Most recentlyVan Nguyen submitted her PhD thesison Hepatitis B-related liver diseaseburden in Vietnam and Australia andTuan Anh Nguyen is currently enrolledin a PhD titled Analysis of pricing policyand feasible solutions for affordablemedicine prices in Vietnam.One of the prime movers in promotingthe School’s connections with Vietnamhas been Associate Professor AnnaWhelan. “My first visit to Vietnamwas in 1999 when asked by WHOto provide assistance to the Ministryof Health on social mobilisation andhealth care and health protection. Thatmission taught me how complex anddifficult it is to understand the system,the personalities and how best to workcollaboratively. I felt that I was workingin a fog! The person involved in thatproject then went on to become theDirector of the new Health StrategyPolicy Institute, designated to providepolicy advice to the Ministry of Health.”Inside this Issue• Staff profile - Professor Daniel Chan• Developing intelligent searchsystems in healthcare• Health promotion through footballfor social inclusion• Broadening horizons• Research @ SPHCM• Young scientist grant• Upcoming events at SPHCM• Developing health workforce plansIssue 2 www.sphcm.med.unsw.edu.au page 1

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