Viet Nam
Results of the implementation of Inter-Ministerial Circular No. 16 on zoonotic diseases prevention and control in some provinces
To report the results of a project on strengthening the implementation of the Joint Circular 16 between the human health and animal health sectors in 4 provinces, namely Ha Giang, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Binh Dinh, and to give recommendations for the way forward, a meeting was held on 22 November 2017 at the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM).

In 2013, the Inter-Ministerial Circular No. 16/2013/TTLT-BYT-BNN&PTNT on “Guidelines for coordinated prevention and control of zoonotic diseases” was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Health (MOH), providing detailed instruction on strengthening coordination between the human health and animal health sectors on periodic reporting, regular surveillance, investigation and response to outbreaks, as well as communication, training and scientific research on zoonotic diseases prevention and control.

To report the results of a project on strengthening the implementation of the Joint Circular 16 between the human health and animal health sectors in 4 provinces, namely Ha Giang, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Binh Dinh, and to give recommendations for the way forward, a meeting was held on 22 November 2017 at the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) with the participation of leaders and representatives from GDPM, the Department of Animal Health (DAH), the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the One Health Partnership Secretariat, and the USAID-funded Preparedness & Response (P&R) project.  

The implementation results in four provinces demonstrate that Circular No. 16 is not only a guiding document for the two sectors to actively collaborate in prevention and control of zoonotic diseases, but is also a basis for developing inter-sectoral documents at all levels, supporting managers to direct disease prevention and control activities in an appropriate manner. Nevertheless, a number of difficulties and limitations remain, including: a lack of regular funding for inter-sectoral collaboration activities; a shortage of regular monitoring support from higher levels; insufficient human resources in both sectors, especially in the animal health sector at the local level; limited allowances/incentives, leading to low motivation; inadequate working facilities that do not meet the requirements, particularly at the commune level and in the animal health sector; the limited capacity of staff at the commune level (for example, on information and technology, surveillance, reporting, and outbreak handling techniques); and unequal attention to zoonotic diseases.

In this context, several comments and recommendations were given in order to more effectively implement the Circular in the upcoming time, including:

·        Developing an annual joint plan and budget for inter-sectoral collaboration, for approval by the Provincial People’s Committee. It is also recommended to plan the monitoring and supervision of the implementing of Circular No. 16 at all levels.

·        It is crucial to disseminate Circular No. 16 to the lower levels, and to develop and issue detailed and feasible guidelines for the implementation of the Circular.

·        Investment plans on human resources, facilities, remuneration and capacity building for staff at all levels are required.

·        The application of report forms under Circular No.54 (for the human health sector) on inter-sectoral information sharing is also under consideration. In addition, it is recommended to utilize available disease response teams in each sector instead of inter-sectoral teams (given that agreement between the two sectoral teams will be ensured during planning, implementing and reporting processes).

These results were shared at the first OHP “Research-to-Policy” workshop for further discussion on measures to address burning issues, aiming at an effective implementation of the Circular in the time to come./.