Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Featured Project: Issues surrounding uptake of maternal and neonatal vaccinations in ethnic communities in Dak Lak Province, Viet Nam

Ha Nguyen Thanh is a 2017 GHBN Bursary Fellow


I’m currently working for the public engagement department of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in
Vietnam. At the moment, I’m doing research about issues around vaccine uptakes in Dak Lak- a remote area with a mixed-cultural and- ethnic population in Vietnam. Another project I’m also working on is to promote health knowledge and skills to primary school children by theatre-based methods and engage
the school community with science. I possess a master's degree in Global Mental Health from King’s College London and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My work interest focuses on improving health literacy, especially towards disease prevention.

Project Title: Issues surrounding uptake of maternal and neonatal vaccinations in ethnic communities in Dak Lak Province Viet Nam

In Vietnam the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) program was introduced in 1983, followed by the maternal and neonatal tetanus initiative in 1995: both aiming to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases. Reported coverage of these vaccines is high but a continual low-level rate of neonatal tetanus and sporadic outbreaks of other diseases indicate that there are significant gaps in the vaccination program. In Dak Lak- an area with a mixed-cultural and- ethnic population in Vietnam, 40 of 61 communes have uptake less than 80%, and in many cases lower than 10% of eligible women and children received necessary vaccines in 2016.

We, therefore, propose a project to understand, in detail, attitudes and perceptions surrounding vaccination uptake in a community at high risk of low vaccination uptake by both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews and group discussions. We will then proceed to carrying out community engagement activities based on the issues identified in selected communities, helping local health providers create location specific public health information and activities to raise awareness and acceptance of the EPI programme. The effectiveness of these interventions will be measured by changes in vaccination rate and compared to ‘control’ communities where only standard engagement activities have occurred.

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