SUNI-SEA European Team visit to Viet Nam
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Viet Nam. In response to this challenge, the Government and the health sector have developed specific policies and actions on the prevention and control of NCDs, such as the National Strategy on Prevention and Control of NCDs for the period 2015-2025 (Decision 376/QĐ-TTg). The Government also approved the National Project on Prevention and Control of NCDs, focusing on high-burden conditions (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetes) as a part of the Health-Population Target Program 2016-2020 (Decision 1125/QĐ-TTg). Following the national agenda, a number of NCD interventions have been implemented and achieved initial successes in some provinces, such as Bac Giang, Ha Nam, and Ho Chi Minh City, etc.
With the financial and technical support of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the Health Strategy and Policy Institute (HSPI) has collaborated with international and domestic partners to develop a multi-national project in three countries: Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar in the period of 2019-2022, namely “Scaling-up NCD interventions in South-East Asia (SUNI-SEA)”. In Viet Nam, the project is conducted through the cooperation between the HSPI, the HelpAge International in Viet Nam (HAIV) and the Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy (TNUMP). The overall aim of the project is to evaluate, validate effective and cost-effective scaling-up strategies of evidence-based prevention and management programs on diabetes and hypertension, and to apply results to enhance sustainable action for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal, based on experiences in Vietnam. The project consists of two phases, a retrospective study and a prospective study:
The first phase (the retrospective study): To review hypertension/diabetes interventions that have been conducted in Vietnam, assessing their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Following the results of the retrospective study, the lessons learnt will be drawn to propose a comprehensive, contextually appropriate, and feasible intervention for scaling up in the following phase.
The second phase (the prospective study): To scale up the proposed intervention model in two selected provinces, then to identify a set of evidence-based interventions and scale-up strategies for the development and implementation of policies on NCD prevention and control in Vietnam.
Within the framework of the project, European experts from the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and the University of Trnava (Slovakia) with the technical coordinator role made a site visit to Vietnam from December 3rd to 6th, 2019. The visit aimed to update on the project progress and to provide technical assistance for the work of the team.
On December 3rd, 2019, the whole team had a field visit to Hai Phong city to learn about the organizational structure and service provision system for the prevention, treatment and management of hypertension and diabetes at the grassroots level. The team worked with the Hai Phong Department of Health, the City Association of Elderly and visited the commune health station in Tien Cuong commune, Tien Lang district. The team also had a chance to visit the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) supported by the HAIV in Tien Cuong commune.
In the following days, the EU experts had a meeting with the local team to update the project progress and discuss the project activities. The Vietnam team presented the preliminary results of the retrospective study on existing NCD interventions in the country. In addition, the EU team shared the initial results of the realist review on NCD interventions in Southeast-Asia. Finally, the whole team discussed the proposed intervention of the prospective phase and the next steps of the project. The international team was impressed and highly appreciated the effort of the local team in implementation of the project. The outcomes of this site visit, together with those of other trips in Myanmar and Indonesia, will be summarized to draw lessons learned and then to share with SUNI-SEA project's partners.
In the coming time, the HSPI as the technical focal point in Vietnam will work with other local partners to complete the results of the retrospective study, carry out a situational assessment in two provinces selected and then finalize the proposal of the scaling-up intervention model for the prospective phase.