Barriers and Facilitators for Including Village Health Workers (VHW) in Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Prevention and Control in Chi Linh District, Hai Duong Province, Vietnam
The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continues to grow in Vietnam. Recently, Vietnam government initiated a new national plan with a strong focus on NCD prevention and control in the community. This study is intended to investigate the current role of Vietnamese village health workers (VHWs) in preventive and NCD-related care, and to explore the barriers and facilitators to expand the role by including routine community-based NCD prevention and control services. From June to July 2016, four focus group discussions with VHWs (n=24) and thirteen in-depth interviews (n=13) with public health administrators (n=13) were conducted in Chi Lin District, Hai Duong Province, Vietnam. A thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes in the data. The participants identified health education, program outreach, and case management as the current responsibilities of VHW. In NCD programs, VHWs provide these services mostly to hypertension and diabetes patients. Majority of the participants endorsed the idea of incorporating NCD early detection and risk reduction into VHW role and thought their close connection with community justified their strength in conducting these services. Currently perceived barriers included aging VHW, insufficient NCD-related knowledge, poor training quality, imbalanced workload and remuneration, lack of resource, and policy-driven guideline. While, participants believed that upon empowering through training, guidance, and proper incentive, VHWs would serve as effective NCD risk detector and healthy behavior promoter in their communities. The study indicates that, with interpersonal, organizational and policy support, VHWs may have the potential to conduct routine community-based NCD early detection and risk reduction activities in Vietnam.
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