W.H.O accredits Ireland-Vietnam Virus Initiative co-funded by Irish Aid and Atlantic Philanthropies06 September 2012
The World Health Organisation has awarded accreditation to the Ireland-Vietnam Blood Borne Virus Initiative (IVVI) which is co-funded by Irish Aid and Atlantic Philanthropies.
The IVVI carries out disease prevention and health promotion in Vietnam, a country wracked by blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis. It was established by University College Dublin and the National Institute of Hygiene & Epidemiology in Hanoi in 2010.
Speaking today ahead of the conferring of an honorary doctorate on Chuck Feeney in recognition of his contribution to Irish society, Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello said:
“I am delighted that the remarkable contribution of Chuck Feeney is being recognised in Ireland today. As well as the immense contribution he has made here, Atlantic Philanthropies has worked closely with Irish Aid to support critical work in the developing world. I look forward to visiting the IVVI to see their important work at first-hand when I visit Vietnam later this year.
“This co-funding of IVVI by Irish Aid and Atlantic Philanthropies demonstrates our shared goals and commitment to tackling epidemic diseases. Because many deadly viruses originate in Vietnam and South East Asia, the IVVI provides an important early warning function in relation to the spread of diseases such as Avian flu and SARS.”
Chuck Feeney said: “Scientific learning and research has the capacity to bridge enormous gaps. The bridge from Ireland to Vietnam, and indeed to other parts of the world, is short – once we focus our efforts. The skills developed in identifying and managing deadly viruses in Ireland are readily transferable to Vietnam, and I am encouraged by the rapid achievements of the IVVI.”
Professor Bill Hall, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and the UCD Centre for Research on Infectious Diseases, emphasised the global impact of Chuck Feeney's philanthropy:
"Without Chuck Feeney’s investment in Ireland, we would not be able to reach out to countries such as Vietnam. Our colleagues in Vietnam are conducting research of such calibre that their findings are regularly published in international peer-reviewed journals. Three years ago this would have been inconceivable. The partnership between IVVI and UCD is genuinely helping to prevent the spread of deadly viruses not just within Vietnam but globally.”
Notes to the editor
- Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- The Ireland-Vietnam Blood Borne Virus Initiative (IVVI) was established by UCD with funding of €2.5 million from Irish Aid and €2.5 million from Atlantic Philanthropies.
- The WHO accreditation gives the IVVI Vietnam’s first national laboratory status for HIV antiretroviral drug resistance.
- The link with UCD creates a critical skill base for detecting and managing infectious diseases. Staff from the IVVI come to UCD's National Virus Reference Laboratory for postgraduate training in molecular diagnostics.
- The IVVI has conducted large scale, cross-sectional epidemiological studies for Hepatitis B which confirms the significant prevalence of co-infection in the Vietnamese population. The research has also highlighted the prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) – HIV co-infections and has led the IVVI to develop specific health strategies to manage these infections.
- Since 1990, the Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Chuck Feeney, has provided financial support to Irish universities for quality education and research capacity.
- In Dublin today, the universities of Ireland, North will jointly confer an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) on Charles F. "Chuck" Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies. This is the first time such an honour will have been conferred jointly by all the Universities on the island of Ireland. The universities are coming together to honour Chuck Feeney's remarkable contribution to Irish society, and in particular to the universities.