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The Abbott Fund, Boston University School of Medicine and Leading Health Institutions in Vietnam Inaugurate the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science at Bach Mai Hospital


The Abbott Fund, Boston University, Bach Mai Hospital, National Institute of Nutrition and Hanoi Medical University establish first-of-its-kind program to advance clinical nutrition in Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam — The Abbott Fund, the philanthropic arm of the global health care company Abbott, and the Global Health Primary Care Initiative (GHPCI) at the Boston University School of Medicine joined Bach Mai Hospital, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Hanoi Medical University today to announce the opening of the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS). AFINS is the first program of its kind in Vietnam to advance clinical nutrition within hospitals by providing training and health education, clinical research and high-quality nutritional patient care nationwide.

The NIN and Hanoi Medical University, under the direction of the Ministry of Health in Vietnam, are dedicated to improving clinical nutrition in the country and providing appropriate training for health care professionals. Increased awareness of the role of nutrition in medical treatment can be accomplished by integrating clinical nutrition into medical school curriculum nationwide, advancing clinical research and increasing resources for training.

The GHPCI, which is based in the Department of Family Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, will work with the support of the Abbott Fund to implement AFINS programs.

The Abbott Fund has provided U.S. $1 million to date to support the AFINS multi-year project. AFINS is dedicated to improving nutritional health by setting the following goals:

* Raising awareness of the important role nutrition plays in the treatment process;
* Training health care professionals at Bach Mai and other hospitals to provide better nutritional care for patients;
* Assisting with the development of national nutrition guidelines and training materials for identification, treatment, and prevention of malnutrition; and
* Conducting research establishing best practices in clinical nutrition.

“The launch of AFINS in Vietnam is part of the Abbott Fund’s commitment to incorporating nutrition science to help people build healthier lives,” said Catherine Babington, president, the Abbott Fund. “By combining Abbott Fund support and the expertise of Abbott scientists with our distinguished partners’ expertise, we are strengthening the capacity to meet the nutrition needs of hospital patients across Vietnam. This project aims to have a significant, long-term impact on patient health outcomes.”

GHPCI Director Alain Montegut, M.D., who leads the team of Boston University participants in the project, added, “The GHPCI, which works to raise the level of health care for underserved populations worldwide, has supported medical education in Vietnam for fifteen years. It is deeply gratifying to have been provided this opportunity to widen our efforts. Our partnership with the Abbott Fund, Bach Mai Hospital, the NIN and Hanoi Medical University is built on a common vision of system-wide improvements that I am confident will lead to significant gains in the health of the people of Vietnam.”
Building on a Model of Success

AFINS in Vietnam builds on the Abbott Fund strategy to find innovative, long-term solutions to improve the health of people in Vietnam and around the world. The project is based on global best practices in nutritional science and research, and on the successful establishment of AFINS in China – a partnership between the Abbott Fund, Project HOPE, and Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) that is improving children’s nutritional health in China. Since its launch in June 2009, AFINS China has:

* Trained 756 physicians, 176 dieticians and 168 nurses within the SCMC network of hospitals;
* Hosted five national training workshops attended by more than 211 doctors, nurses and students from across the country;
* Integrated nutrition training into the curriculum at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine; and
* Helped create nutritional guidelines with physicians for the neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, cardiac intensive care, hematology, surgery, nephrology and gastroenterology units.

Clinical Nutrition in Vietnam

With guidance from the Ministry of Health in Vietnam, the NIN has successfully implemented a National Nutrition Strategy and National Plan of Action for Nutrition, providing goals and a framework for addressing malnutrition. However, more capacity for training is needed for implementation of clinical nutrition best practices nationwide.

While the nutritional status of the Vietnam population has dramatically improved in the past 20 years,approximately 14 percent of the total population remains undernourished. In the hospital setting, malnutrition, particularly among adults, is associated with more infectious and non-infectious complications compared to those patients who are well nourished,resulting in prolonged hospital stays and increased hospital charges.

Ongoing Abbott and Abbott Fund Initiatives

Abbott and the Abbott Fund support other ongoing initiatives to advance health and nutrition in Vietnam, including: providing food and nutritional supplements to children in Vietnam’s four provinces in partnership with AmeriCares and Giao Diem’s Pediatric Nutritional Program; building the Lien Son Primary School for Disadvantaged Children with the Education and Training Bureau of Dinh Quan District and Saigon Children’s Charity in Dong Nai province; and providing a grant to Ho Chi Minh City Medical University to reprint pediatrics textbooks for distribution to medical schools and hospitals.

About Boston University School of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine is a leader in medical education and research ranging from basic science and clinical investigation, to public health and health services oriented research. The GHPCI is an international leader in primary care health system reform and education. Its mission is to raise the level of health care for underserved populations world-wide by enhancing primary care through four key program areas: developing and implementing medical education curricula, improving health systems management, increasing access to high quality clinical services, and promoting research and evaluation. In Vietnam, the GHPCI has collaborated with the Ministry of Health, six medical schools and provincial health authorities on health systems reform projects. Reflecting its strong academic foundation, the GHPCI carries out extensive evaluations of its work and publishes results in leading peer-reviewed journals.

About Bach Mai Hospital

Bach Mai Hospital, the largest hospital in the country, is recognized as a leader in several specialties. Also a prominent teaching hospital, it serves as a training site for many medical universities including Hanoi Medical University (HMU), Hai Duong Medical Technical University (HDMTU), and Hanoi School of Pharmacy (HSP) in addition to providing clinical guidelines for hospitals nationwide. The hospital has a training center where about 2,000 trainees are trained per year. The training programs include physician undergraduate training, nursing undergraduate training, medical technician training and continuing medical education training for health professions. Bach Mai Hospital has recently been tasked by the Ministry of Health to provide post-graduate physician training in clinical specialties.

About the National Institute of Nutrition

The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) under the Ministry of Health was established in 1980 by the Government of Vietnam to serve as the leading institution responsible for research, training and implementing activities in the field of nutrition, food sciences and clinical nutrition. NIN also serves in an advisory role to the Ministry of Health regarding nutrition-related disease prevention and treatment strategies and develops nutritional guidelines that are appropriate for Vietnam according to current socioeconomic conditions. The Institute consists of 12 units, some of which include Clinical Nutrition and Dietary Therapy, Food Hygiene and Safety Control Center, a Nutrition Counseling Center, Food Sciences and FoodHygiene & Safety, Nutritional Rehabilitation and Obesity Control.

About Hanoi Medical University

Hanoi Medical University (HMU) is the largest and oldest medical university in Vietnam. The University has three administrative levels: university administration, faculty and departments. In addition there are four Faculties/Schools: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry. In the Faculty of Public Health, there is a Department of Food Safety and Nutrition, which provides clinical nutrition training for medical students during the last two years of their program. Upon graduation, these physicians are specialists in clinical nutrition. There are few of these physicians and most currently work within this Department. With a very high rate of malnutrition in the general population, nutrition interventions have traditionally targeted the community more than the hospitals. HMU also operates a hospital but has yet to develop a Department of Clinical Nutrition.

About the Abbott Fund

The Abbott Fund is the philanthropic foundation of Abbott, the global health care company. The Abbott Fund’s mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information, visit


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