Hanoi, Vietnam - Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery completed a visit to Vietnam.
During his visit to Hanoi, Nathan met with Army Maj. Gen. Vu Quoc Binh, Director General, Military Medical Department, Vietnam People's Army (VPA), to discuss recent advances in military medicine and future health partnerships between Navy Medicine and the VPA.
Nathan received an informational brief about Vietnam's military medical department, which included medical priorities, current projects, challenges and future areas for collaboration. He also toured several medical facilities, including the National Institute of Burns (NIB), Military Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology (MIHE), and 108 Military Central Hospital.
Nathan stressed the importance of continuing military medical partnerships and working side-by-side to learn more from one another.
"One of the most impressive things to me is your military medicine's importance to your country," said Nathan. "In the United States, our military providers don't understand malaria, dengue, or avian flu as well as you do. We're eager to learn from you."
Bihn stated the hands-on exchanges are highlights of the cooperation between the militaries. He specifically recognized the Vietnam Interventional Burn Management Subject Matter Expert Exchange with the NIB and Naval Medical Center San Diego in 2013, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and recent conferences with U.S. Pacific Command as great examples of working together and learning from one another.
"Between you and me, we need to find out which of the activities are very effective and that we need to continue to promote," said Bihn. "Of course we want everything to be good, but we must prioritize our efforts."
Bihn also discussed challenges VPA is facing. He proposed future military medical cooperation with the U.S. Navy in the areas of infectious disease research, nursing care and laboratory development.
Nathan concluded by reiterating the importance of continued cooperation to advance global health security.
"There's no such thing as a local illness. All infections are global in today's connected world," said Nathan. "Infections that concern you here in Vietnam, concern us in the United States. At the end of the day, you and I have the same job. We are both responsible for keeping our soldiers and sailors strong, healthy and operationally ready. By cooperating together, we can make a difference."
U.S. Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.