Views by health professionals on the responsiveness of commune health stations regarding non-communicable diseases in urban Hanoi, Vietnam: a qualitative study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Primary health care plays an important role in addressing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries. In light of the rapid urbanization of Vietnam, this study aims to explore health professionals' views about the responsiveness of primary health care services at commune health stations, particularly regarding the increase of NCDs in urban settings. METHODS:This qualitative study was conducted in Hanoi from July to August 2015. We implemented 19 in-depth interviews with health staff at four purposely selected commune health stations and conducted a brief inventory of existing NCD activities at these commune health stations. We also interviewed NCD managers at national, provincial, and district levels. The interview guides reflected six components of the WHO health system framework, including service delivery, health workforce, health information systems, access to essential medicines, financing, and leadership/governance. A thematic analysis approach was applied to analyze the interview data in this study. RESULTS:Six themes, related to the six building blocks of the WHO health systems framework, were identified. These themes explored the responsiveness of commune health stations to NCDs in urban Hanoi. Health staff at commune health stations were not aware of the national strategy for NCDs. Health workers noted the lack of NCD informational materials for management and planning. The limited workforce at health commune stations would benefit from more health workers in general and those with NCD-specific training and skills. In addition, the budget for NCDs at commune health stations remains very limited, with large differences in the implementation of national targeted NCD programs. Some commune health stations had no NCD services available, while others had some programming. A lack of NCD treatment drugs was also noted, with a negative impact on the provision of NCD-related services at commune health stations. These themes were also reflected in the inventory of existing NCD related activities. CONCLUSIONS:Health professionals view the responsiveness of commune health stations to NCDs in urban Hanoi, Vietnam as weak. Appropriate policies should be implemented to improve the primary health care services on NCDs at commune health stations in urban Hanoi, Vietnam.
Project description:Although the prevalence of depression in Vietnam is on par with global rates, services for depression are limited. The government of Vietnam has prioritized enhancing depression care through primary healthcare (PHC) and efforts are currently underway to test and scale-up psychosocial interventions throughout the country. With these initiatives in progress, it is important to understand implementation factors that might influence the successful integration of depression services into PHC. As the implementers of these new interventions, primary care providers (PHPs) are well placed to provide important insight into implementation factors affecting the integration of depression services into PHC. This mixed-methods study examines factors at the individual, organizational and structural levels that may act as barriers and facilitators to the integration of depression services into PHC in Vietnam from the perspective of PHPs.Data collection took place in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2014. We conducted semi-structured interviews with PHPs (n?=?30) at commune health centres and outpatient clinics in one rural and one urban district of Hanoi. Theoretical thematic analysis was used to analyse interview data. We administered an online survey to PHPs at n?=?150 randomly selected communes across Hanoi. N?=?226 PHPs responded to the survey. We used descriptive statistics to describe the study variables acting as barriers and facilitators and used a chi-square test of independence to indicate statistically significant (p?<?.05) associations between study variables and the profession, location and gender of PHPs.Individual-level barriers include low level of knowledge and familiarity with depression among PHPs. Organizational barriers include low resource availability in PHC and low managerial discretion. Barriers at the structural level include limited mental health training among all PHPs and the existing programmatic structure of PHC in Vietnam, which sets mental health apart from general services. Facilitators at the individual level include positive attitudes among PHPs towards people with depression and interest in undergoing enhanced training in depression service delivery.While facilitating factors at the individual level are encouraging, considerable barriers at the structural level must be addressed to ensure the successful integration of depression services into PHC in Vietnam.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The study aims to evaluate the impact of the Revised Health Insurance Law 2014 on the utilisation of outpatient and inpatient care services, healthcare services utilisation at different levels of providers, types of providers and types of visits across different entitlement groups. DESIGN/SETTING:Secondary data from two waves of the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey (VHLSS) 2016, VHLSS 2014 were used. A cross-sectional study applying propensity score matching was conducted. PARTICIPANTS:A total of 4900 individuals who reported using healthcare services are analysed. OUTCOMES MEASURE:Numbers of outpatient and inpatient visits, frequency of healthcare service utilisation at commune health stations, district hospitals, provincial hospitals, public and private health facilities, number of visits at health facility for medical treatment and health checks per year. RESULTS:The result indicates that health insurance (HI) policy increased the number of outpatient visits for the enrolled between 0.87 and 1.29. The greatest impact was found on participants of heavily subsidised health insurance (HSHI) programmes with 1.29 visits per person per year. Similarly, an increase between 0.08 and 0.16 in the number of inpatient admissions was because of participation in HI. With regard to type of healthcare providers, the study found that participation in HI has the most effect on the use of healthcare services at district hospitals. However, the study demonstrated that the impacts of HI on the increase in the frequency of visiting commune health stations, number of visits at the provincial hospital for HSHI groups, and number of visits at health facilities for health check and consultation were sensitive to unobserved characteristics. CONCLUSION:Our findings imply that policy-makers in Vietnam could continue expanding health insurance coverage to increase access to healthcare services for citizens, especially vulnerable groups. In addition, the government should draw more attention to primary healthcare level.
Project description:Background: Despite substantial achievement in reducing malnutrition rates in Vietnam, there has been an increasing rate of overweight individuals in urban areas, which may result in a high burden of non-communicable diseases. Nutritional counseling clinics have been introduced in several settings; however, little is known about the preference for this service among urban clients. This study aimed to assess the preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for nutritional counseling services among urban clients. Methods: We interviewed 429 clients who attended Hanoi Medical University Nutritional Counseling Clinic (Hanoi, Vietnam). WTP was determined using double-bounded dichotomous-choice questions and open-ended questions. Results: In total, 78.6% respondents were willing to use nutritional counseling services. The mean amount of WTP for one-time service and one-year package was 96,100VND (~$4.3) and 946,400VND (~$41.9), respectively. Clients' willingness to use the service was higher among females, those seeking counseling for elderly people and those who preferred face-to-face counseling services (p<0.05). WTP was higher among those who were over 35 years old, those seeking services for the elderly people, those having poor nutritional status, and those having under-6 year old children (p<0.05). Conclusions: The preference and WTP for nutritional counseling services in urban Hanoi were relatively high. Scaling up this service is necessary to actively prevent and control the spread of non-communicable diseases.
Project description:Background:Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) account for a higher burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and home to a higher number of premature deaths (before age 70) from NCDs. NCDs have become an integral part of the global development agenda; hence, the scope of action on NCDs extends beyond just the health-related sustainable development goal (SDG 3). However, the organization and integration of NCD-related health services have faced several gaps in the LMIC regions such as India. Although the national NCD programme of India has been in operation for a decade, challenges remain in the integration of NCD services at primary care. In this paper, we have analysed existing gaps in the organization and integration of NCD services at primary care and suggested plausible solutions that exist. Method:The identification of gaps is based out of a review of peer-reviewed articles, reports on national and global guidelines/protocols. The gaps are organized and narrated at four levels such as community, facility, health system, health policy and research, as per the WHO Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions framework (WHO ICCC). Result:The review found that challenges in the identification of eligible beneficiaries, shortage and poor capacity of frontline health workers, poor functioning of community groups and poor community knowledge on NCD risk factors were key gaps at the community level. Challenges at facility level such as poor facility infrastructure, lack of provider knowledge on standards of NCD care and below par quality of care led to poor management of NCDs. At the health system level, we found, organization of care, programme management and monitoring systems were not geared up to address NCDs. Multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination were proposed at the policy level to tackle NCDs; however, gaps remained in implementation of such policies. Limited research on the effect of health promotion, prevention and, in particular, non-medical interventions on NCDs was found as a key gap at the research level. Conclusion:This paper reinforces the need for an integrated comprehensive model of NCD care especially at primary health care level to address the growing burden of these diseases. This overarching review is quite relevant and useful in organizing NCD care in Indian and similar LMIC settings.
Project description:In Vietnam, the overall prevalence of hypertension (HTN) was 21%, with lower estimates for the prevalence of HTN awareness and treatment. The health systems, like other low- and middle-income countries, were designed to provide acute care for episodic conditions, rather than a chronic condition where patients need long-term care across time and disciplines. This article describes the delivery and organization of HTN care at primary healthcare (PHC) settings in both urban and rural areas at Hue Province of Central Vietnam in comparison with Thai Nguyen province in Northern Vietnam based on the infrastructure capacity and patients' and providers' perspectives and experiences We used mixed-methods design that included in-depth semi-structured interviews with patients and healthcare providers at purposively selected PHC facilities in two districts of each province and a modified version of the service availability and readiness assessment inventory at all PHC facilities. We found that HTN patients in both provinces can access healthcare services to diagnose, treat and control their HTN condition at the PHC level with a focus on district facilities. Health services in Hue have allowed commune health stations (CHSs) to provide routine monitoring and prescription refills for HTN patients while maintaining periodical visits to a higher level of care to monitor the stability of the disease. Such provision of care at CHSs remained restricted in Thai Nguyen. Further improvements are necessary for referral procedures, information system to allow for longitudinal follow-up across levels of care and defining a basic health insurance or benefits package, which meets patients' preferences with a monthly timespan for prescription refills.
Project description:Assuring availability of services for patients with lymphedema is required for countries to be validated as having achieved elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF). A direct inspection protocol (DIP) tool, designed to measure the readiness to provide quality lymphedema management services, has recently been developed. The DIP tool includes 14 indicators across six quality themes: trained staff, case management and education materials, water infrastructure, medicines and commodities, patient tracking system, and staff knowledge. We evaluated the use of the tool in Vietnam, where data were needed to inform validation efforts. To apply the tool in Vietnam, we compiled a list of 219 commune health stations (CHS) with known lymphedema patients and conducted a cross-sectional survey in 32 CHS; including 24 in Red River Delta region, 2 in the North Central region, and 6 in the South Central Coast region. The mean facility score, calculated by assigning 1 point per indicator, was 8.8 of 14 points (63%, range 4[29%]-13[93%]). Percentage of surveyed facilities with staff trained in last two years was 0%; availability of lymphedema management guidelines (56%); availability of information, education, and communication materials (16%); reliable improved water infrastructure (94%); availability of antiseptics (81%), antifungals (44%), analgesics or anti-inflammatories (97%), antibiotics (94%); supplies for lymphedema and acute attack management (100%); lymphedema patients recorded in last 12 months (9%); staff knowledge about lymphedema signs/symptoms (63%), lymphedema management strategies (72%), signs/symptoms of acute attacks (81%), and acute attack management strategies (75%). The tool allowed standardized assessment of readiness to provide quality services. Lack of trained health staff, limited patient tracking, and depletion of education materials were identified as challenges and addressed by the national program. Survey data were included in the validation dossier, providing evidence necessary for WHO to validate Vietnam as having eliminated lymphatic filariasis in 2018.
Project description:Background:The growing burden of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries presents substantive challenges for health systems. This is also the case in fragile, post-conflict and post-Ebola Sierra Leone, where NCDs represent an increasingly significant disease burden (around 30% of adult men and women have raised blood pressure). To date, documentation of health system challenges and opportunities for NCD prevention and control is limited in such settings. This paper aims to identify opportunities and challenges in provision of NCD prevention and care and highlight lessons for Sierra Leone and other fragile states in the battle against the growing NCD epidemic. Methods:This paper focuses on the case of Sierra Leone and uses a combination of participatory group model building at national and district level, in rural and urban districts, interviews with 28 key informants and review of secondary data and documents. Data is analysed using the WHO's health system assessment guide for NCDs. Results:We highlight multiple challenges typical to those encountered in other fragile settings to the delivery of preventive and curative NCD services. There is limited government and donor commitment to financing and implementation of the national NCD policy and strategy, limited and poorly distributed health workforce and pharmaceuticals, high financial barriers for users, and lack of access to quality-assured medicines with consequent high recourse to private and informal care seeking. We identify how to strengthen the system within existing (low) resources, including through improved clinical guides and tools, more effective engagement with communities, and regulatory and fiscal measures. Conclusion:Our study suggests that NCD prevention and control is of low but increasing priority in Sierra Leone; challenges to addressing this burden relate to huge numbers with NCDs (especially hypertension) requiring care, overall resource constraints and wider systemic issues, including poorly supported primary care services and access barriers. In addition to securing and strengthening political will and commitment and directing more resources and attention towards this area, there is a need for in-depth exploratory and implementation research to shape and test NCD interventions in fragile and post-conflict settings.
Project description:Traditionally, health systems in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on acute conditions. Few data exist on the readiness of African health facilities (HFs) to address the growing burden of chronic diseases (CDs), specifically chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs).A stratified random sample of 28 urban and rural Ugandan HFs was surveyed to document the burden of selected CDs by analysing the service statistics, service availability and service readiness using a modified WHO Service Availability and Readiness Assessment questionnaire. Knowledge, skills and practice in the management of CDs of 222 health workers were assessed through a self-completed questionnaire.Among adult outpatient visits at hospitals, 33% were for CDs including HIV vs. 14% and 4% at medium-sized and small health centres, respectively. Many HFs lacked guidelines, diagnostic equipment and essential medicines for the primary management of CDs; training and reporting systems were weak. Lower-level facilities routinely referred patients with hypertension and diabetes. HIV services accounted for most CD visits and were stronger than NCD services. Systems were weaker in lower-level HFs. Non-doctor clinicians and nurses lacked knowledge and experience in NCD care.Compared with higher level HFs, lower-level ones are less prepared and little used for CD care. Health systems in Uganda, particularly lower-level HFs, urgently need improvement in managing common NCDs to cope with the growing burden. This should include the provision of standard guidelines, essential diagnostic equipment and drugs, training of health workers, supportive supervision and improved referral systems. Substantially better HIV basic service readiness demonstrates that improved NCD care is feasible.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Republic of Moldova is faced with a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) related to lifestyle and health behavioural factors. Within the frame of the decentralisation reform, the primary health care system has been tasked to play an important role in the provision of preventative and curative NCD health services. There is however limited evidence available on the actual coverage and quality of care provided. Our paper aims to provide an updated overview of the coverage and quality of service provision in rural and urban regions of Moldova. METHODS:We designed a facility-based survey to measure aspects of coverage and quality of care of NCD services across 20 districts of the Republic of Moldova. This study presents descriptive data on the structural, procedural and clinical aspects of primary healthcare delivery at health centre and family doctor office level. Adjacent private pharmacies were also assessed for the availability of essential NCD medicine. RESULTS:Organised under the WHO Health Systems Framework, our findings highlight that service provision and information were generally the strongest among the six health systems building blocks, with more weaknesses found in the area of the health workforce, medical products, financing, and leadership/governance. Urban facilities generally fared better across all indicators. CONCLUSIONS:The gaps in service provision identified by this study require broad health system improvements to ensure NCD related policies and strategies are embedded in primary health care service provision. This likely calls for stronger coordination and collaboration between the public and private sectors and the different levels of government working towards ensuring universal health coverage in Moldova.
Project description:Introduction:In Vietnam, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are serious health issues, especially in the context of overload central heart hospitals, insufficient primary healthcare, and lack of customer-oriented care and treatment. Attempts to measure demand and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for different CVD treatments and care services have been limited. This study explored the preferences and WTP of patients with heart diseases for different home- and hospital-based services in Hanoi, Vietnam. Methods:A cross-sectional survey was performed at the Hanoi Heart Hospital from July to December 2017. A contingent valuation was adopted to determine the preferences of patients and measure their WTP. Interval regressions were employed to determine the potential predictors of patients' WTP. Results:Hospital-based services were most preferred by patients, with demand ranging from 45.6% to 82.3% of total participants, followed by home-based (45.4%-45.8%) and administrative services (28.9%-34%). WTP for hospital-based services were in the range of US$ 9.8 (US$ 8.4-11.2)-US$ 21.9 (US$ 20.3-23.4), while figures for home-based and administrative services were US$ 9.8 (US$ 8.4-11.2)-US$ 22 (US$ 18.7-25.3) and 1.9 (US$ 1.6-2.2)-US$ 7.5 (US$ 6.3-8.6), respectively. Patients who lived in urban areas, were employed, were having higher level of education, and were not covered by health insurance were willing to pay more for services, especially home-based ones. Conclusion:Demand and WTP for home-based services among heart disease patients were moderately low compared with hospital-based ones. There is a need for more policies supporting home-based services, better communication of services' benefits to general public and patients, and introduction of services packages based on patients' preferences.