While many countries around the world struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam had a reported 1,465 cases in December 2020. This success story is due to several key factors including a well-developed public health system, decisive central government, and a proactive containment strategy.
One of the reasons why Vietnam was able to keep caseloads low was due to the experience of two pandemics in recent years – SARS and Avian Flu. These crises gave Vietnam the experience and the built public health infrastructure to take rapid action on COVID-19 through contact tracing, quarantine, and communication with the public. Vietnam is a highly centralized country and decisions were made quickly at the national and local level.
Vietnam ranks 117 out of 189 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index yet outperformed more developed countries when it came to COVID-19 containment. What community health systems that worked for Vietnam can be applied to other contexts?