The Ministry of Health of Vietnam recently held a ceremony to honor Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki, an expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Policy Advisor to the Health Ministry of Vietnam, with the “For People’s Health” medal.

The award ceremony took place in Hanoi on March 1, with the presence of Vietnamese Health Minister Dao Hong Lan, Japanese Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Shige Watanabe, and First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam Sasaki Shohei.

Health Minister Dao Hong Lan presents the award to Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki. Photo: JICA Vietnam

This prestigious award is given to Vietnamese and foreign individuals who have made significant contributions to Vietnam’s healthcare sector.

During his two-year tenure from March 2022 to March 2024 at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Shobayashi has been highly praised for his policy advisory work in areas such as universal health insurance, infectious disease prevention, medical equipment and drug management and registration, and healthcare personnel training and employment.

“Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki has been actively coordinating and facilitating effective collaborations between the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, JICA, and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan. He has personally arranged working programs and supported delegations from Vietnam’s Health Ministry, as well as leaders and experts from various departments and agencies, to visit Japan and learn from Japanese experiences in various fields, for which he provides direct policy advice,” emphasized Minister Dao Hong Lan.

JICA-supported projects in the healthcare sector in Vietnam have greatly benefited from Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki’s technical expertise. These projects include the viral hepatitis prevention project, medical equipment support for K Hospital, and the Telehealth remote medical examination and treatment capacity improvement project, among others. They are of great significance to the development of the healthcare sector and the promotion, care, and enhancement of the health of the Vietnamese people.

During his two-year stay in Vietnam, Dr. Shobayashi has visited 26 provinces and cities across the country to assess the healthcare service delivery system at the provincial, district, and commune levels, and has provided valuable recommendations to the Ministry of Health to bridge the gap in healthcare service quality among these levels.

“We hope that regardless of his future position, Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki will continue to support and contribute wholeheartedly to the Vietnamese healthcare sector,” added Minister Dao Hong Lan.

Dr. Shobayashi Tokuaki delivers a speech at the ceremony. Photo: JICA Vietnam

In his speech at the ceremony, Dr. Shobayashi expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Health and was deeply moved. Despite encountering challenges during his work in Vietnam, his colleagues at the Ministry of Health have always shown him their trust and friendship, with a great eagerness to learn from Japanese experiences in various areas.

Dr. Shobayashi has 30 years of experience in infectious disease control, health promotion, health insurance, hospital management, mental health, and maternal and child health care at the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan.

Hannah Nguyen