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U.S., Vietnam forge partnership to address war legacies

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HCMC – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) signed a memorandum of intent on Wednesday to support the DNA analysis of unidentified human remains, which have been recovered from the U.S.-Vietnam war.

USAID said in a statement that the agency will provide Vietnam with the best, cutting edge technology for DNA extraction and analysis, work with Vietnam to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its laboratories and ultimately increase the number of remains of combatants that can be accurately reunited with their families.

The signing ceremony was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Michael Greene, USAID/Vietnam Deputy Mission Director Craig Hart, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and VNOSMP Director Le Chi Dung.

Under this agreement, USAID will partner with VNOSMP to fund a new three to five-year, US$2.4 million project, which will complement a broader U.S. Department of Defense effort to support Vietnam’s efforts to find and identify the over 200,000 Vietnamese combatants missing in action.

The United States intends to institutionalize the VMIA cooperation along six lines of effort, of which USAID’s contribution will be to support improving DNA analysis capacity.

“The United States appreciates all the support that Vietnam has provided over the last 35 years in accounting for missing U.S. service members and is committed to supporting the people of Vietnam as they seek to identify and ultimately reunite the remains of the combatants with their loving families,” stated Ambassador Kritenbrink at the ceremony.

Since 1989, the United States and Vietnamese Governments have worked together to overcome the effects of the war with programs that remediate dioxin contamination, support persons with disabilities and eliminate unexploded ordnance.

In addition to these activities, the search, recovery and identification of human remains from the war are vitally important both spiritually and culturally for both countries.

USAID helps Vietnam respond to Covid-19

USAID is offering US$9.5 million to its implementing partners in Vietnam to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, including US$5 million in economic support funds and US$4.5 million in health assistance.

Between June 15 and 21, USAID supported the effort through its Improving Access, Curriculum and Teaching in Medical Education and Emerging Diseases Alliance.

As a result, three infection and prevention control onsite trainings and technical assistance visits were conducted in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, the central province of Quang Binh and the south-central coastal province of Binh Dinh.

Some 150 doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians from 20 provincial and district-level healthcare facilities took part in these trainings and three hospitals received technical assistance on infection and prevention control and pandemic preparedness.

By Gia Phong

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