February 18, 2022

OUCRU and Dragon Capital Group Announce Partnership on Intensive Care Development Programme for Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases in Vietnam

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), a leading clinical and public health research unit, and Dragon Capital Group, an established financial institution focused on Vietnam and other Southeast Asian emerging markets, today announced a two-year partnership to support the development of high-quality intensive care for those with life-threatening infectious diseases in Vietnam.

The emergence of COVID-19 as a global pandemic has highlighted the imperative need to improve the capacity and quality of intensive care for infectious diseases. The need is particularly acute in less well-resourced countries such as Vietnam, where there is a lack of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, equipment and personnel, and the numbers of patients have exceeded the healthcare system’s capacity to care for them. To prepare for future pandemics, an integrated and collaborative solution focused on education, professional networks and clinical experience for local healthcare professionals is essential.

The Intensive Care Development Programme, which will take place during 2022 – 2024, has three objectives:

1. Encourage and support intensive care unit teams in Vietnam to innovate and improve current care through high-quality education

2. Strengthen intensive care networks within Vietnam and their international links

3. Support members of intensive care units across Vietnam to visit centres of excellence in the United Kingdom (UK).

The Programme will include an annual intensive-care medicine course on cutting-edge ICU medicine and good clinical and nursing care in resource-limited settings. It will also support the existing “Vietnam Intensive Care Society” and will negotiate for establishing formal links

with other international ICU societies, especially in UK, Singapore, Australia/New Zealand and Europe. In addition, it will promote joint membership and clinical activities with St Thomas’ Hospital ICU in central London.

OUCRU has a long-standing interest in improving intensive care and have worked closely for many years with the ICU teams in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City (HTD) and the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, conducting research that reduces deaths from common life-threatening infectious diseases (tetanus, dengue, meningitis, and now COVID-19).

Professor Guy Thwaites, Director of OUCRU and Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Oxford, said: “Sadly, COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable many low and middle income countries are to infectious diseases, particularly when they cause life-threatening illness. Lives can be saved by good intensive care, but the skills and expertise required to deliver this care are hard to acquire and are generally limited to a few specialist hospitals. This new Programme is exciting and important because it will help improve the provision and quality of intensive care in Vietnam. Dragon Capital Group and OUCRU have, in their respective fields, long supported the development of Vietnam and we are delighted and grateful for this new partnership”.

Associate Professor Louise Thwaites, Senior Clinical Research Fellow at OUCRU and Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, said: “OUCRU has been supporting training of ICU staff in Vietnam for many years and this Programme is an exciting opportunity to scale up this work, reaching many more doctors and nurses, and support the Vietnamese societies and experts who have been working so hard during the pandemic. The Programme will provide a lasting legacy for Vietnamese ICU care, far beyond the current pandemic”.

Dr Lam Minh Yen, Senior Study Doctor at OUCRU and former Vice-Director of HTD, highlighted: “The Programme will offer huge opportunities for Vietnamese doctors to get professional specialty through medical workshops, training, and special classes with local and international ICU experts on various topics including patient care experiences, clinical scenarios of severe cases in high- and low-middle-income settings as well as how to apply IT in clinical work and its benefits. With the initiative, patients will receive many benefits through the improvement of intensive care and the establishment of qualified ICU networks throughout Vietnam”.

Dominic Scriven, Chairman of Dragon Capital Vietnam, commented: “The fourth COVID-19 wave has highlighted the importance of ICUs and a significant need for critical care capacity- building among health care professionals in Vietnam. Dragon Capital is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with a leading clinical and public health research unit like OUCRU. We believe that the Intensive Care Development Program will extend high-quality training and expertise to health care professionals. This will help Vietnam to create a stronger health-care system that can provide people with safe and effective patient care during the current pandemic and inevitable future ones”.

For further information, please contact the Communications team at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) at communications@oucru.org.

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