An open letter to colleagues from Frank Chilelli
Dear colleagues and friends, on Saturday April 24 I attended a webinar hosted by the Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society (CVFS). The keynote speaker was Dr. Nguyen Hung Son, who is vice-president of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.
Over 100 participants in the workshop were especially interested in Vietnam’s effective measures to respond to the pandemic.
Vietnam showed that even a small country can thrive strongly and maintain sovereignty, independence and national values, said Steve Rutchinski, a representative from the CVFS who moderated the webinar.
Vietnam’s democracy was reflected in the fact that people throughout the country have contributed their opinions to documents of the 13th National Party Congress, outlining a roadmap to further apply science-technology towards a brighter future for the nation, he added.
Dr. Nguyen provided invaluable information on the methods and experiences of the Vietnamese people’s fight against this unrelenting virus causing so much discomfort and death onto humanity.
Before sharing with you what I have gathered in regards to the methods and outlook being implemented by the Vietnamese people in combatting the virus I want to provide you with an amazing statistic.
Vietnam’s population is almost 100 million people. During this pandemic that has lasted for over a year there were only 46 fatalities attributed to the virus, where the pandemic has been effectively curbed with only 6,164 infections confirmed as of May 27. This is an extremely low number. More than 90 per cent of the Covid cases have been cured.
This is an amazing feat attributed to a government that is committed to take up its social responsibility to serve and meet the needs of its citizens and investing resources and organizing methods to assist its people. Because of Vietnam’s success in combating the Coronavirus, it has been recognized and praised by the world community.
Nonetheless, Dr. Nguyen’s presentation mainly focused on the methods implemented by the Vietnamese people in combating the virus. He stated that the approach that was indispensable and put in use was both medical and political. He elaborated on this by informing his audience that during the start of the pandemic and onward discussion was organized amongst all the citizens of Vietnam on how to address the exigent circumstances facing Vietnam and the world.
Dr. Nguyen outlined the Four on the Spot procedure that included four essential and urgent factors needed to combat the coronavirus. First, there is the timely response where there is the testing, detection, distancing and quarantining with the provision of appropriate treatment; second the expansion and upgrading of facilities, medication and equipment; thirdly that the government of Vietnam had to, in order to execute its success allocate the necessary funding. Dr. Nguyen stated that almost 6 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP was allocated towards its infrastructure for improvement; and fourthly, the provision of human resources on the spot.
The substantial investment into infrastructure and social programs by the Vietnamese state demonstrates how priority is placed into the well-being of its people. It is also worth pointing out that in Vietnam, all the hospitals and medical clinics are owned and operated by the state – no profit motive.
Dr. Nguyen continued to inform participants that in Vietnam there was a Massive Mobilization of the health care sector where the military was also involved in fighting the virus. He went on to say that in many communities where many of the Coronavirus cases had been detected, the Vietnamese government provided free food, and Apps for its citizens to track cases. And despite the duress that the Vietnamese People have experienced, the economy still expanded an impressive 2.91 per cent in 2020 – one of the highest growth rates in the world – he noted.
Vietnam has to date established diplomatic ties with 189 out of 193 United Nations members, and has economic linkages with 230 partners, with 17 free trade agreements signed with 58 partners. Besides, the country has been a proactive and responsible member in the international community’s activities. It successfully assumed the roles as ASEAN Chair in 2020, AIPA-41 Chair, and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during the 2020-2021 tenure.
Now let us compare Vietnam’s total deaths with that of Canada. Let me once again point out that Vietnam has a population of almost 100 million people with only 46 deaths due to Coronavirus as of May 27th. With a population of 36 million or one third, Canada has recorded 24,000 deaths up until recently. Canada reported nearly 59,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days before the webinar, which lifted the tally to over 1.1 million.
The Canadian state and its provincial government partners of all political stripes have not only failed to take up their social responsibility in investing in the Canadian People during these exigent circumstances but continue to arrange schemes of paying the rich during the pandemic – for example, vaccine pharma-care to pay the rich. The Canadian state has decided to allocate the value created by the Canadian taxpayers to pay foreign Big Pharma instead of having vaccines produced here in Canada without the profit motive in order to serve all Canadians. It is during this pandemic era that the Canadian state headed by the Trudeau Liberals are paying the rich twice: once by having the Canadian working class and peoples pay back the money lenders the interest for the money borrowed; and secondly, as mentioned handing over billions to foreign big-Pharma such as Pfizer.
Currently, for this year Canada has a deficit of 354.2 billion dollars and for next year it is projected to be 154.7 billion dollars, with the Federal deficit to be 1.2 trillion dollars.  As mentioned, the borrowed money is to serve the interests of the international and domestic bond-holders and big business such as the pharmaceutical monopolies. Such a scheme ought to be stopped and instead we need public corporations that are operated for the public common good.
We not only have to take heed from the success of Vietnam in combating this unrelenting vicious virus but we as Canadians need to discuss, analyse and act for a new direction where Canadians are the sovereign decision makers in having vaccines produced in Canada, with publicly owned facilities on a non-profit basis in the service of the Canadian working class and masses.
Thank you for reading, and please do circulate if you think this information is useful.
 Workers’ Forum, April 22, 2012, Number 31
Note. The article has been slightly updated to incorporate the latest statistics.