VIETNAM, INDONESIA AGREE TO CLOSER HEALTH CO-OPERATION
Vietnam and Indonesia have agreed to increase bilateral co-operation for healthcare services, drug production and in the fight against infectious diseases. The deal was signed after a four-day visit to Indonesia by Vietnam's Health Minister.
In the field of healthcare services, Vietnam and Indonesia have pledged to promote technology transfer and encourage the exchange of healthcare personnel. Meanwhile, the two countries have also committed to producing new vaccines for epidemics threatening the ASEAN region.
Many global experts fear that a "bird flu" pandemic is virtually inevitable, and are encouraging countries to stockpile treatments. However, supplies are inadequate and several Asian states are keen to produce their own vaccines. To date, bird flu has killed six people in Indonesia, with 21 others receiving hospital treatment.
Indonesia and Vietnam both hope the accord will the help development of their
health sectors and improve competitiveness ahead of the planned ASEAN Free Trade
Agreement, expected in 2015. The region's drug market is forecast to reach $6bn
in the next decade.