273181 Vietnam's approach to addressing the ongoing impacts of Agent Orange/Dioxin

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Susan Hammond , War Legacy Project, Chester, VT
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 and are in various stages of mitigation. The Vietnamese have rough estimates of the number of people believed to be suffering ill health effects. A new interactive database of the spray records, dump sites and perimeter spraying will help pin point the areas of Vietnam that were most heavily impacted by the herbicides and the populations that may have been exposed. In the past five years there has been progress on addressing this war legacy. The Vietnamese government has drafted a national Action Plan to address the on-going health and environmental impacts of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam with the hope of adequately addressing these impacts by 2020. The Vietnamese government also contributes significant financial resources to help mitigate the environmental impacts and provide stipends to many whose illness or disability is believed to be associated with Agent Orange/Dioxin. The US Government has allocated over $60 million in funding over the past five years for the remediation of dioxin hotspots and related health programs and has developed comprehensive, multi-year plan to address Agent Orange in Vietnam. While most of the funding to date has been used to clean-up the dioxin hotspot in Da Nang, a new three-year project funded by a $9 million USAID grant has begun that will improve services to people with disabilities, develop a pilots for birth defects screening and a cancer registry. This discussion will address within the context of reviewing what is currently being done in Vietnam to address the impact of Agent Orange, what needs to be done in the next decade, and what more needs to be learned to ensure more effectively to mitigate the impacts of Agent Orange in Viet Nam.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the context and impact of government and non-governmental projects that are addressing the health and social service needs of those believed to be affected by Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam. 2. Explain issues that need to be considered in the long term mitigation of the impact of Agent Orange/dioxin on the past, present and future populations of Vietnam.

Keywords: Vietnam, Agent Orange

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: NA

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in Vietnam for several decades. Much of my career has been devoted to raising public awareness about the legacy of Agent Orange and providing aid and resources to Vietnamese families who have been affected.
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.

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