4 January 2013

Africa: Award Recognizes Vaccine Advocate

press release

The leader of PATH's immunization work in Vietnam has been awarded the Medal for People's Health by the country's Ministry of Health in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of Vietnamese children.

Dr. Vu Minh Huong, senior team leader for vaccines and immunization in PATH's Vietnam country program, received the award from the Vietnamese minister of health on December 19 at an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Vietnam's National Expanded Program on Immunization (NEPI).

Reviving hepatitis B vaccination

An employee of PATH since 1997, Dr. Huong has led projects focused on malaria control, reproductive health, and immunization. Since 2010, he has focused on immunization activities, including designing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating vaccine-related introduction and clinical trials programs conducted in conjunction with NEPI and international partners.

He has also led efforts to help several provinces in Vietnam revive hepatitis B vaccination programs for newborns. The percentage of newborns receiving a birth dose of the vaccine fell dramatically between 2006 and 2008 because of fears about vaccine safety. Dr. Huong helped NEPI develop a new action plan and technical guidelines for vaccine use.

His efforts contributed to restoring confidence in the vaccine's safety, improving Vietnam's immunization systems, and increasing national hepatitis B birth dose vaccination rates.

Dr. Huong earned his MD and PhD in medical epidemiology from Hanoi Medical School.

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