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Hanoi – June 5, 2007 – At a press conference held today in Hanoi, Le Huu Trac National Institute of Burns (NIB) and The Asia Foundation launched a one-year project worth over U.S. $125,000 to reduce the number of burn accidents in Vietnam through effective prevention education and development of improved skills for local care givers. With funding support from the AIG Disaster Relief Fund and Give2Asia, the project will be implemented throughout the country with particular focus on provinces that have a high rate of burn accidents. Annually, it is estimated that between 15,000 – 16,000 people are severely burned nationwide caused by a range of accidents such as hot water, hot food, flames from petrol or electric sparks, and chemicals.

According to the Vietnam National Committee for Injury and Accident Prevention and the Administration of Preventive Medicine, the number of burn injuries in the country ranks second only after traffic accidents. The NIB reports that children account for at least 50% of the total number of burn victims, of whom half are under the age of 5 years old. More than 70% of burn victims are located in rural and mountainous areas, 80% of burn victims come from poor and low-income families, and 70% of burn cases worsen during transfer to the provincial and central hospitals because families and local practitioners do not know how to administer first aid to burn victims, or apply appropriate necessary curatives during the transportation of burn patients.

Using a comprehensive approach designed to raise community and citizen awareness of prevention while providing local health workers with training to enhance their treatment skills, the NIB, with support from The Asia Foundation, will partner with local and pediatric hospitals in the North, Central, and Southern regions to conduct need assessment, develop educational and training materials on prevention and treatment for local educators and health workers, organize workshops for local educators and health workers, implement nationwide awareness campaigns through local and national media, and support hotlines for burn accidents.

National Burn Institute Director Dr. Le Nam welcomed the new project by saying, “This is the first time that the National Burn Institute has received comprehensive support for burn prevention education. Every year, the National Institute of Burns admits as many as 4,000 patients for burn treatment. Sadly, the most severe cases, about 30% of the patients we treat, result in death. We are thrilled that, with this support, burn education materials and programs will be developed for local educators and health workers in Vietnam to reduce the number of burn cases admitted to the NIB in the future.”

The Asia Foundation's Country Representative Dr. Kim Ninh added, “We have learned that in Vietnam, most of burn cases, especially involving children have resulted from lack of awareness and absence of preventive measures and guidance. With this comprehensive education program, we expect that many of these terrible burn accidents could be avoided with greater awareness-raising and strong preventive measures in place for the public. We need support and cooperation from the media in Vietnam to implement effectively this important project.”

AIG General Director in Vietnam, Mr. Terence Anderson said, “Today marks an important step in the promotion of burn prevention and awareness. AIG is committed to reducing the number of these accidents that take the lives of so many unnecessarily in Vietnam.”

The nationwide rate of burn accidents effects families, communities, and businesses alike. In October 2002 a fire at the International Trade Center in downtown Ho Chi Minh City injured and killed hundreds of people including 24 AIG employees.

About the National Institute of Burns

The National Institute of Burns (NIB) is the leading institute of Vietnam specializing in burns with the aim to provide highly qualified research, treatment, education and guidance of the activities for burn prevention and monitory nationwide. The Institute was established on December 1, 1964 as the Department of Burns at the Militant Hospital 103. In April 25, 1991 under the Decision No. 142-CT by the Vice-chairman of Council of Ministers, it was converted to the Le Huu Trac National Institute of Burns, named after one of the greatest doctors in Vietnam's history and became one of the two practical hospitals of the Militant Medical Institute of Vietnam.

For more information, please visit: www.vienbongquocgia.org.vn or www.vnburn.org.vn

About The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports programs in Asia that help improve governance and law, economic reform and development, women's empowerment, and international relations. Drawing on 50 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.

With a network of 17 offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2006, the Foundation provided more than $53 million in program support and distributed 920,000 books and educational materials valued at $30 million throughout Asia.

For more information, please visit: http://www.asiafoundation.org.

About the American International Group's Disaster Relief Fund

The AIG Disaster Relief Fund ("DRF") is a global charitable organization formed by American International Group, Inc. (AIG), world leaders in insurance and financial services, to encourage a wide range of philanthropic endeavors, including providing assistance to victims of manmade and natural disaster and emergencies around the world. The DRF is funded by generous donations from AIG and its employees, whose contributions are matched by AIG.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aigcorporate.com and http://phx.corporate-ir.net.

About Give2Asia

Give2Asia facilitates and encourages charitable giving to meet needs in Asia by providing personalized services to donors and recipients. Founded by The Asia Foundation, Give2Asia helps overcome the common challenges that U.S. and Canadian donors face when giving to Asia. With a flexible menu of custom giving options, Give2Asia provides individuals, families, corporations, donor advised funds, and foundations the tools for fulfilling their charitable goals. Give2Asia and its program advisors in Asia make philanthropy convenient, accountable, and tax deductible.

For more information, please visit: http://www.give2asia.org.

Dr. Kim N. B. Ninh
Country Representative, Vietnam
+84 (4) 943-3263

Debbie Felix
Communications Manager
+66 (81) 645-3637