251867 A War Legacy Priority: Addressing the Impact of Agent Orange on the Health and Lives of the People of Viet Nam

Monday, October 31, 2011: 3:14 PM

Susan Hammond , War Legacy Project, Chester, VT
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first use of tactical herbicides by the US military in Viet Nam. For nearly ten years over 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were sprayed in southern Vietnam, two-thirds of these herbicides were contaminated with dioxin. The ongoing impacts of these toxic herbicides reverberates today in the lives of millions of Americans and Vietnamese men, women and children who were directly and indirectly - exposed to dioxin. Hotspots of dioxin contamination have been found at and around former US military bases in Viet Nam. Progress has been made, individuals and organizations in the US and Vietnam are working in a joint effort to assess and then remedy the continuing impact of dioxin contamination on the environment of Vietnam and to prevent further human exposure. Since 2007 the US government has allocated $24.6 million “for environmental remediation of dioxin contaminated sites and related health activities in Vietnam” and is expected to increase their funding over the next decade. The Ford Foundation has invested more than $9 million in programs to mitigate the environmental and human health impacts of Agent Orange/dioxin, most recently funding a pilot program at the CDC to explore the development of the first birth defects registry in Vietnam. The good news of more resources begs the question of how can the proliferation of projects and funding be channeled strategically into the most effective long term program planning and best outcomes for people with disabilities and their families and communities. This discussion will address within the context of reviewing what is currently being done to address the impact of Agent Orange on the people of Vietnam, what needs to be done in the next decade, and what more needs to be learned to enable the Vietnamese and American partners to work effectively to mitigate the impacts of Agent Orange in Viet Nam.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the context and impact of pilot projects to address the health and social service needs of those believed to be affected by Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam. Describe issues to consider in the long term mitigation of the impact of Agent Orange/dioxin on the past, present and future populations of Vietnam

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been researching and working on the long term health and environmental impacts of Agent Orange/Dioxin for the past twelve years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.