The Government of Japan will help Vietnam strengthen its laboratory capacity to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

The deal is part of a 4.4 million USD project that was signed on Jan. 26 in Hanoi.

"By implementing this new project, we hope that Japan's experience in controlling infectious diseases would be further disseminated to not only Vietnam, but to other countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myan-mar", said Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office Tsuno Motonori.

The five-year project was signed by representatives from Japan's International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).

The project aims to enhance the NIHE's capacity to examine infectious pathogens. Pasteur institutes and selected Preventive Medicine Centres will also participate in the project. Hazardous infectious pathogens can cause pandemics including A/H5N1, A/H1N1, anthrax and tuberculosis.

Under the project's framework, Japanese experts will co-operate with NIHE and two Pasteur institutes to organise training for Vietnamese counterparts, who will be managing hazardous infectious pathogens, streng-thening laboratory's operations, and developing Standard Operating Procedures for Biosafety Laboratories.

"With assistance from Japanese experts in the coming time, the capacity of Pasteur institutes and selected Preventive Medicine Centres will be strengthened, so they will be able to respond to the increasing demands that are needed to prevent emerging infectious diseases", said NIHE Director Nguyen Tran Hien. /.