Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

GHBN PhD Fellow - Ha Nguyen Thanh


I’m currently a PhD student based at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit-HCM, working on vaccine perception and acceptance in Vietnam. For me, this is a very important public health issue as recent years has witnessed serious outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Occasionally, I write articles and deliver talks about psychology and mental health for Vietnamese young people. I possess a Master's Degree in Global Mental Health awarded by the University of London and a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental and Public health from Middlesex University. My work interests focus on exploring health perceptions and behaviours and improving health literacy, especially towards disease prevention.

Project Summary

Project Title: Vaccine Culture: Perceptions and attitudes towards maternal and infant vaccination in rural and urban Vietnam

In Vietnam the EPI program was introduced in 1981, followed by the maternal and neonatal tetanus initiative in 1992: both aiming to eliminate vaccine preventable disease. Reported national coverage has been high over the last decade and Vietnam Ministry of Health declared the elimination of polio in 2000 and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005. However, the last few years have witnessed cases of vaccine-preventable diseases such as tetanus in rural areas and sporadic outbreaks of measles in urban cities, which indicates a potential gap in vaccine uptake in different areas in the country. It is important to explore public perceptions and attitudes towards vaccines in order to implement an effective immunization programme. In low and middle-income settings, individual health choices are affected by various factors at different ecological levels including contextual, social and individual levels.

This PhD project is a qualitative study that aims to explore the vaccination culture, including experiences, attitudes and acceptance of maternal and infant vaccination in Vietnam and to compare the use of different data collection methods for this topic. The study will take place in both urban and rural settings (Ho Chi Minh City and Dak Lak province) and will be linked to a cross-site study with Malawi. Data collection is conducted using both traditional qualitative approach including surveys, in-depth interviews and group discussions and novel approach including participatory and visualized methods. For Dak Lak province, in areas with low vaccination rates, public engagement activities will be implemented to promote vaccine knowledge and uptake behaviours and subsequently be evaluated for effectiveness and contextual-suitability.

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