USAID Trains Medical Students to Support Vietnam’s COVID-19 Response - “Ready when the nation calls”

Speeches Shim

Friday, September 25, 2020

When COVID-19 first hit Vietnam, 5th-year medical student Dương Thuỳ Linh felt confused, scared, and unprepared. Knowing she was a medical student of Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, many friends and relatives looked to her for advice and information about the coronavirus, but she couldn’t provide help, responding, “it is a novel viral strain, I don’t know either.”  

Due to a shortage of appropriately trained healthcare workers, the Vietnamese Government called on retired healthcare workers and final year medical students to participate in the COVID-19 response. To support this effort, USAID’s Improving Access, Curriculum and Teaching in Medical Education and Emerging Diseases (IMPACT-MED) Alliance and global healthcare company Novartis developed curriculum and trained senior medical students on COVID-19 care and treatment. As a student at one of the ten universities joining in this training effort,  Linh had the opportunity to participate in online training courses on COVID-19 response from May to July 2020. The USAID-supported training included practical sessions on skills regarding epidemiological case investigations, safe specimen taking and transportation, and communication advocacy within the quarantine area. These training courses supplied Linh with confidence, knowledge, and skills, and led her to take up a teaching assistant position for pandemic response training the university subsequently offered to 1000 junior students. Additionally, Linh is now in a position to support Vietnam’s COVID-19 pandemic response if required.

 “The courses are truly useful because they helped me improve my knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic so that I could inform my friends and relatives in the community about it, and in addition, I can guide everyone about how to protect themselves and their family in the context of the pandemic. The courses also improved my capability and confidence to be able to support the COVID-19 response in case the nation calls,” Linh said.