Working with Vietnamese Scientists to Support Local Efforts in Reducing Disease Emergence

I volunteered with VWB because I wanted to better understand how human-animal-environmental relationships (One Health) were driving the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases in Southeast Asia.  I wanted to learn from Vietnamese scientists how they were managing the threats of disease emergence and how the global health community could support their efforts. 

I joined an incredible network of talented, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable health professionals who were working hard to make their country safer for people, animals, and the environment.  Being immersed in a new culture allowed me insight into practices that do not exist in Canada and I learned a great deal about collaborating with individuals from different cultures, health disciplines, and with different languages. 

I continue to work with my Vietnamese colleagues and to explore new ways to support each other.  Now more than ever, these networks and skills are critical to solving emerging health crises.  The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted that many low-middle income countries have far outperformed high income countries in stamping out the virus.  We can all learn from each other to celebrate successes, help each other thrive, and minimize suffering.  Viruses don’t have borders, and neither should we. 

Written by Dr. Janna Schurer, Assistant Professor, Center for One Health, University of Global Health Equity