Thursday, November 08, 2018, 07:19 (GMT+7)
Making the Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine comprehensively strong

The Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine (SMCPM) – previously known as the Regional Detachment of Epidemic Prevention - Department of Military Medicine, General Logistics Department was founded on 20 July 1967 to perform the task of epidemic prevention to ensure that soldiers were fit for the increasingly fierce war of resistance against America. Over the course of 50 years’ combat, construction and development, the Centre’s officers, soldiers and workers have made every effort to overcome difficulty, unite and be determined to successfully complete their combat mission and combat support mission, making great contribution to national liberation and unification, fulfilling the international duty in Cambodia, building the Vietnam’s People’s Army (VPA), and safeguarding the Fatherland today. Given its achievements, the Centre has been honourably given three Feat Orders (First, Second and Third Classes), one Military Exploit Medal (Third Class), one Fatherland Defence Order (Third Class) and many other rewards by the State. The Centre was graded Determination to Win Unit in seven consecutive years.

The Centre received the Third-Class Fatherland Defence Order in 2017

In recent years, as a result of international integration, climate change, and escalation of industrialisation and modernisation of the country, environmental pollution and epidemics in the whole country in general and the Southern area in particular have been on the rise and witnessed complex developments, exerting a strong influence on soldiers’ health. Such conditions have placed increasingly high requirements for epidemic prevention and control, disease surveillance, environmental sanitation, food safety, labour, occupational diseases, etc., in the Centre’s military units in the south. Besides advantages, the Centre has also met a number of difficulties, such as vast areas of operation, diversified actors, newly emerging diseases, insufficient manning, limited experience and equipment, and so on. It is against this backdrop that the Centre Party Executive Committee and Board of Directors have focused on leading and instructing the employment of many synchronous, drastic measures to make the Centre comprehensively robust and satisfy demands of assigned tasks.

First of all, building a politically strong unit. The Centre has educated its officials and staff to thoroughly grasp resolutions and instructions of party executive committees at different levels and its characteristics, requirements and missions to enable them to clearly recognise advantages and disadvantages, thus strengthening their resolve and responsibility for epidemic prevention and soldiers’ healthcare within their areas of responsibility. Conducting “innovation in political education in units in the new period,” the Centre has attached importance to closely aligning political education and popularisation of law, discipline, ethics, and lifestyle with the strengthened management, guidance and resolution of sentimental situation, and instruction on actions; and cooperated with local party executive committees and authorities to control and train officers, party members and soldiers, and build a strong unit and safe area. In addition, it has regularly paid attention to emulation and reward; aligned the Determination to Win with the studying and following of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style under the Directive 05-CT/TW of the Politburo (12th tenure); the campaign “Promoting traditiondevoting talent, deserving to be Uncle Ho's soldiers”; “the Military Logistics Branch Follows Uncle Ho’s Teachings”; the emulation movement “Building Five-Good Military Medical Units”; and so forth. Consequently, the Centre’s officers, party members and soldiers possess political steadfastness and fine professional ethics; clearly perceive their responsibility; manage to meet the demand of “doctors as gentle mothers”; unite and resolve to successfully complete their missions; have no manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle, “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”, and so on.

The Centre’s Party Executive Committee (2015-2020 tenure)

In addition to successfully complete combat readiness, military training, and maintenance of good order and discipline, the Centre has effectively fulfilled its specialized tasks. The Centre has well undertaken epidemic prevention; actively and proactively monitored, early identified, and rapidly and correctly diagnosed diseases; cooperated with, instructed, joined, and assisted units in preventing and controlling small, medium and large epidemics within their areas of responsibility. Line units have so far succeeded in preventing outbreaks of large epidemics and preventing and controlling diseases such as meningococcal disease, viral hemorrhagic fever, H1N1 influenza A, H5N1 influenza, and so on.

Despite its vast area of responsibility and complex terrain, the Centre has regularly monitored and directed its line and well conducted working visits to its line units, ensuring completion of all assigned plans and beyond all expectations. Additionally, it has maintained a close interdepartmental collaboration on line instruction to ensure closeness, quality and effectiveness. Moreover, the Centre has well inspected environmental sanitation and food safety during major political events of the country and military; sent hundreds of line working teams totaling thousands of turns of doctors and nurses to units within its areas of responsibility to provide effective epidemic prevention and control for soldiers.

Laboratory testing has drawn the Centre’s close attention, which helps to initially improve laboratories’ capacity for testing, ensuring rapidity, accuracy and fulfillment of epidemic prevention and control, and step by step striving for national and international standards. Some laboratories of the Centre have taken part in external quality assessment programs both inside and outside the country. The HIV testing laboratories under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have been regularly maintained to ensure effective operation, in which the Centre’s HIV Testing Department has been certified to meet the national quality standards since 2015 by the Ministry of Health. The Centre’s testing have constantly exceeded targets, ensuring accuracy, safety, and timely support of epidemic prevention and control, recruitment, student enrolment, early diagnosis and discovery of diseases, environmental sanitation, labour, examination of fatal diseases, training, and scientific studies in recent years.

Due to the variety of medicine and medical equipment, the Centre has not only received and distributed equipment used for epidemic prevention and control, rescue and relief work, etc., provided by the Ministry of Health, but also taken initiative in contacting other units to ensure sufficient provision of medicine, chemicals, test kits, and equipment used for epidemic prevention and control along the line, training in laboratories, and unscheduled tasks as requested. At the same time, it has also monitored the reception, installation and operation of laboratory bio-safety equipment; conducted periodical verification of laboratory equipment; and implemented the project to establish the National Standard Centre for Occupational Health according to assigned progress and quality.

Every year, the Centre strictly carries out specialised training plans, including testing methods used for environmental sanitation, labour, occupational diseases, plasmodium, intestines, giemsa stain, and water microbiology. Additionally, it provides support for training courses in HIV/AIDS conducted under PEPFAR program in this unit; participates in mobile preventive healthcare teams; and practices using equipment in a close and effective manner. To enhance the quality of doctors and physicians, the Centre has regularly sent them to receive intensive training in educational institutions at home and abroad. Every year, the Centre opens training courses in food safety, occupational medicine; work-related diseases, prevention and control of HIV, drugs, viral hemorrhagic fever, Zika virus disease, etc., for units in the south, which is appreciated by the Ministry of Health.

The Centre has also paid regular attention to scientific studies. Many research projects have been conducted and assessed as excellence such as the State-level research project “Identifying particular threats posed by remote areas of Dong Thap Muoi to community health, and proposed solutions”; the ministry-level project “Solutions to marry military medicine with civilian medicine to prevent and control fatal diseases, and overcome the aftermath of natural disasters, calamities and other emergency situations”; the ministry-level project “Inspecting the existence of bacillus anthracis and creating antigens to assist the forecast, prevention and control of extremely fatal diseases”; and so forth. It is worth noting that all of the aforementioned research projects are of high basis of science and practically applicable.

In addition to in-depth studies, the Centre has closely cooperated with Ho Chi Minh City Centre for Preventive Medicine in sharing experience and assisting specialised activities; practising the civil-military preventive medicine teams; and conducting medical examination for people. At the same time, it has cooperated with the Department of Health, Pasteur Institute, Institute of Malariology, and Institute of Hygiene and Public Health of Ho Chi Minh City on scientific training and studies, and epidemic monitoring; collaborated with the Medical University of Pham Ngoc Thach to train and instruct undergraduate and postgraduate students to practise occupational and environmental medicine; and cooperated with the Hanoi Medical University in delivering specialised training courses on occupational diseases at the Centre.

One of the measures to build a comprehensively strong unit which has been taken well by the Centre is logistic, technical work. Accordingly, the Centre has attached great importance to ensuring military pay and improving the soldiers’ quality of life; stepped up practising thrift and combating waste; and actively built regular, green, clean, and nice departments and divisions and “good catering, good management” messes. Additionally, it has strictly maintained the regime on management, exploitation, use, and preservation of weapons and equipment without causing damage and loss, ensuring road safety and appreciation by the Department of Military Medicine.

Those outcomes represent fundamental premises for officers, soldiers and workers of the Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine to continue to enhance the building of a comprehensively strong unit, to be ready to successfully complete every assigned mission.

Senior Colonel, Doctor Nguyen Van Thuyen, PhD

Director of the Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine

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