International researchers praise success story of Vietnam in fighting COVID-19

Two international researchers from academic institutions in the UK recently wrote an article on The Conversation to discuss how Vietnam can be so successful in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in both first and second waves of its attacks.
September 26, 2020 | 07:37
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Danang authorities have officially declared to resume all activities into the normal condition from December 25 thanks to its “free coronavirus” after a long lockdown.

Not only Danang people are happy with its local government’s decision but also mass media has spread the good news. A recent article from the global well-known academic magazine named The Conversation is one among them.

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Vietnam is a good example in the fight against COVID-19. Photo: Luong Thai Linh/EPA

Starting with an eye-catching title as of “Good news stories from Vietnam’s second wave – involving dragon fruit burgers and mask ATMs”, two authors from academia in the UK, including Ba-Linh Tran, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Bath and Robyn Klingler-Vidra, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, King's College London, wrote about the clear success story of Vietnam in general and Danang city in specific during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

After nearly 100 days of no infection, coronavirus suddenly and mysteriously came back on July 25, brought the death cases of 35 in total countrywide, with 1,059 infections since the beginning of the pandemic. More seriously, it made the coastal city of Danang in the Central of Vietnam to become the center of the second wave of COVID-19.

Through the authors’ observations, Vietnamese people have been coming up with innovative ways to respond to the pandemic. “For the past year, we have been working on a research project focused on Vietnamese inclusive innovation – meaning innovation that helps the community in some way, with a focus on sharing the benefits with a wide range of people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Through our research, we have observed how the pandemic has unfolded across the country”, citing the article.

What made the authors surprised was the way different stakeholders in the society, “from grassroots innovators to socially-minded entrepreneurs have helped to soften the blow of the pandemic”.

Well known international magazine talks about success story of Vietnam in fighting COVID-19
Rice ATMs in Vietnam. Photo: Maika Elan/Bloomberg

Prevention, identification, and awareness

Ba-Linh Tran and Robyn Klingler-Vidra have noticed that “Prevention” is what Vietnamese people kept in mind while dealing with the pandemic with a number of innovative and effective solutions.

“Some pandemic innovations have been aimed at preventing further infections. In the center of the outbreak, Danang, local tech startup BusMap has worked with the authorities to create an infection map to help locals avoid hotspots and to find the nearest medical facility”, said the authors.

“Newly designed robots have been given the job of disinfecting hospitals and public spaces”.

They also found that a wide range of automatic hand-sanitizer dispensers was assembled by school students around the country, using commercially available parts.

Well known international magazine talks about success story of Vietnam in fighting COVID-19
Vietnamese people keep a positive life style during the pandemic. Many awareness raising activities, including songs and dance, have been conducted in innovative and creative ways to help people "stay safe, stay strong".

"In the early days of the outbreak, the Ghen Co Vy, or Washing Hand Song, composed by local musicians in collaboration with the Ministry of Health went viral around the world for its quirky message and dedicated choreography. Since then, ordinary people have written their own COVID-19 songs, including one by an adorable father-child duo, titled Worry Not, Danang Will Overcome COVID. The lyrics are about the second wave in Danang and remind people to take precautionary measures”, the two authors commented with positive words.

Alleviating the negative social impact

Beside prevention and control, the article also mentioned another important step: Alleviating the negative social impact of COVID-19.

The two authors talked about the case of a famous baker in Ho Chi Minh city - Kao Sieu Luc, who has used dragon fruit to make bread and shared his recipe with the country in order to “help dragon fruit farmers who cannot export their crops due to Vietnam’s strict travel restrictions. The recipe has been taken up not only by ordinary people but also by other businesses, resulting in the creation of KFC dragon fruit burger”. According to the article, during the second wave, Kao is making dragon fruit mooncakes as the annual autumn festival draws close.

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Bread made from dragon fruits by Mr. Kao Sieu Luc in HCM city. Photo: TNO

There are some other good examples applauded by the article. In Hanoi, doctor Khuat Thi Hai Oanh has set up a charity called “An Egg A Day” to provide food, masks, and essential goods for the homeless and extremely poor families throughout northern Vietnam. The charity also helps people in need to find work and accommodation.

A businessman Hoang Tuan Anh from Ho Chi Minh City has built a mask ATM for his community during the second wave. The machine dispenses free, individually wrapped masks, with a remote operator to ensure fair distribution and to remind recipients to wash their hands before touching the dispenser. During the first wave, Hoang set up the first rice ATM in front of his office. The ATM provides free 1.5kg of rice and was reported to have dispensed 5 tonnes of rice in its first two days. Hoang’s rice and mask dispensers have been replicated by entrepreneurs and charities across the country.

Well known international magazine talks about success story of Vietnam in fighting COVID-19
Rice ATMs in Vietnam. Photo: Maika Elan/Bloomberg

Finding humanity in a pandemic

Since February 2020, the two academic researchers also conducted a series of interviews and fieldwork to track "how inclusive innovation is advancing productivity, and more broadly, striving to benefit society in Vietnam".

International researchers praise success story of Vietnam in fighting COVID-19
"Sharing is caring" can be easily seen during the pandamic in Vietnam (File photo)

Through their research, they both have been struck “by the range and speed of innovations, and awestruck by the people and companies who are working for the greater good”. They did emphasize the words “humanity’s virtues” as the best value of Vietnamese people clearly presented through the crisis.

The article, together with a number of articles by international mass media, has been reflecting how the Vietnamese government and its people worked together in solidarity so as to overcome the difficulties and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And above all, they show the world a positive image of Vietnam as a country of not only trying its best in any circumstance with innovation but putting the lives of its citizens on the top priorities as well.

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