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Message By Kamal Malhotra United Nations Resident Coordinator at IBSA eLearning Project Final Dissemination Workshop

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Event: IBSA eLearning Project Final Dissemination Workshop

Date: 12 June 2019

Venue: Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha street, Ha Noi

  • Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director-General of Medical Services Administration;
  • Prof. Pham Van Thuc, Party Secretary of Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy;
  • Prof. Nguyen Van Khai, Rector of Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy;
  • Excellencies, Ambassador Parvathaneni Harish of India, Ambassador Fernando Apparicio Da Silva of Brazil and Ambassador Mpetjane Lekgoro of South Africa;
  • Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam;
  • Government and Development Partners;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Xin chao cac quy vi,

I would like to thank WHO, our Vietnamese partners in the Ministry of Health and the Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy (HPMU) for the invitation to this final workshop of the IBSA eLearning Project.

I am happy to speak on behalf of the UN family in Viet Nam on this occasion, and to congratulate our colleagues from WHO and our Vietnamese partners for the successful completion of this project.

Results achieved for the IBSA e-Learning courses through the development and application of innovative e-Learning linked to mobile apps for medical students in the northern coastal region of Viet Nam are now clearly proven, in addition to being confirmed through the approval of the Ministry of Health. This important decision by the Ministry of Health has opened the door both for country-wide participation as well as the exciting prospect of the program's replication, scaling-up and potential long-term sustainability, with students and medical staff in other provinces directly and indirectly benefiting from the training and online training courses being shared by other national medical universities in Viet Nam.

As UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, I find it important to also situate the remarkable results of this IBSA-project within the broader context of South-South Cooperation, which I am prioritizing for our broader UN engagement and support in Viet Nam. The IBSA-project is a clear example of such South-South Cooperation where Viet Nam has benefited from support and learning from good practice development experiences of other countries in the global south. There are many areas such as poverty reduction, education and even some aspects of health in which other countries can learn from Vietnam's experiences through South – South Cooperation and the UN in Viet Nam is prioritizing those equally.

As the Indian Ambassador has just said, the visit that I made to Hai Phong in 2017 when I had only recently arrived together with the Indian Ambassador and previous Brazilian and South African Ambassadors was clearly a turning point since we realized that the project was way behind schedule.

I am pleased to recognize the strong and committed support of India, Brazil and South Africa as IBSA partners together with other UN agencies such as the United Nations Office of South – South Cooperation located in UNDP and WHO as well as our Vietnamese partners in the Ministry of Health and Hai Phong Medical University who have since 2017 been receptive to feedback and worked very hard to turn this project around. You have all joined together to make this project successful and created one of the best current showcases of South-South Cooperation in Viet Nam.

On the UN side, special thanks are due to Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative, who from the time of his arrival soon after which I spoke to him about this project, has given this project the attention it deserves. He brought in Ms. Bindu Varghese as the full-time project consultant and that was important because you cannot do this part-time. She has reached out for advice repeatedly and been very instrumental in helping turn around this project and make it the success that it is today.

As you know, our main mission in Viet Nam is to support the country in the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. To achieve this, we have prioritized more and more joint inter-agency collaboration and partnerships with the government, civil society, the private sector and international development partners in Viet Nam. The UN convenes platforms for policy debates, policy formulation and advocacy, as well as shares best global development practices and technical expertise with both national partners and local communities.

Our joint UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) work and support to Viet Nam is guided by the One Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2021, jointly agreed with the Government of Viet Nam. A key area focuses on investment in people to ensure more inclusive and equitable quality social services and social protection for people, especially the most vulnerable. In this context, achieving universal health coverage and improving healthcare services, especially primary health care services, to make them equitably accessible and affordable to all Vietnamese is a high priority goal for the UN in Viet Nam.

I join you and our partners in looking forward to witnessing and supporting the IBSA-project's further success through its sustainability, impact and visibility beyond its project completion in June 2019, and not least through the continued efforts of the trained health workforce in the Northern Coastal Region of Hai Phong. Allow me to build on what the South African Ambassador has very nicely put just now. The project is like an adolescent child going out in the world and while it will need to learn to be independent, it will also continue to need its parents, WHO and the Ministry of Health to continue to give it sustained support. It will not likely survive in the wild on its own, so I hope this technical support will continue from both. In this context, I am very pleased that this innovative health e-Learning project will be linked to other national programs to contribute to improving coverage and the quality of health services in Viet Nam.

I take this opportunity to wish you all good health and happiness as well as success in the next stage of this initiative, and I look forward to our continuing partnership towards the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals here in Viet Nam.

Thank You! Xin Cam On!