Dr. Huong is one of PATH’s longest-standing employees. Since joining PATH in 1997 as a Project Officer, he has worked across a broad array of projects in vaccine introduction, maternal and child health, malaria control, and many more. Many of the projects which Dr. Huong introduced and contributed to over his career at PATH are still ongoing, confronting some of the most pressing population health challenges in Vietnam and across the region.
Dr. Huong began his career as a medical doctor, undertaking his training in Vietnam and pursuing postgraduate studies in public health. His career turned towards population health when he recognized the contribution he could make in disease prevention in Vietnam; at that time focused on communicable diseases. With first-hand experience in treating children with pertussis, tetanus and a host of other conditions, Huong sought an opportunity to engage in prevention of the diseases which impacted large portions of the population.
Today, the conditions Dr. Huong treated as a newly qualified doctor are no longer highly prevalent in the population – thanks in part to the introduction of an array of vaccines in the public health system. In his own words, “I’m really a fan of new vaccine introduction. When I see new vaccines reach patients, I’m so happy.”
Dr. Huong recognizes the broad challenges associated with introduction of a new vaccine to patients. Working with public and private stakeholders, policymakers, governments and patients, the process of bringing a lifesaving vaccine to market may take up to 20 years. Advocating for vaccine introduction in the public health system requires a confluence of public and private sponsorship, in some cases with support from GSK.
The impact of Dr. Huong’s work in Vietnam and across the region is clear. Among the multitude of projects he has worked on, the introduction of a vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is perhaps the most consequential. With severely limited availability of a JE vaccine in the region in the mid 2000’s, his work in collaboration with external partners has resulted in the vaccination of millions of infants and children, with enormous life-saving potential.
PATH’s ability to bring people together and confront the entire value chain of a project – from inception to distribution – provides the organization with a unique advantage. In the future, Dr. Vu hopes to see this collaborative approach enhanced and the strengths of PATH and its partners harnessed to exact sustainable change.
This series of blog posts was produced with a fellow PULSE10 volunteer, also working for PATH based out of Hanoi. Check out more profiles on Nadine’s blogs, linked here.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the opinions of PATH or GSK.