First surveying activity of Tropical Fruit project

In mid April 2022, a team comprising MCNV representatives and technical advisors made their first surveying trip to households growing mango, dragon fruits and grape fruits in four provinces of Binh Thuan, Long An, Dong Thap and Ben Tre.

The surveying activity aims to look for key farmers offering their orchards for advanced-technology agricultural trials and demonstration as part of the project “Fruit quality project” by MCNV and the Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU)

The working task force visits a mango garden of a farmer family in Dong Thap.

The working group comprised representatives from the VNFU, MCNV and three among the project’s partner companies: Bayer Vietnam (crop protection agents producer), Yara (fertilizer producer) and Eurofins (innovative soil and crop analysis).

During the trip, the farmers were briefed on the project’s objectives and the benefits of participating in the project as well as the eligibility criteria to be selected, including the minimum area of field possessed, the willingness and openness to acquiring new technology to improve the product quantity and quality. Besides, the working group also conducted inspection in terms of water resources, farming techniques, the use of insecticides and fertilizer, target export market, etc in surveying fields.

Selected farmers will represent their respective province to offer their field for fertilizer trials, demonstrations of crop protection and irrigation technology.

Soil testing in a pomelo orchard in Ben Tre province

After the survey, 2 farmers’ household were selected including a pomelo plantation in Ben Tre province and a mango plantation in Dong Thap province. The survey will be further continued to search for another two households representing Binh Thuan and Long An provinces.

With total value of 906,665 euro, nearly half of which is funded by the Dutch Goverment via the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO), the project aims to improve the quality of the dragon fruit, grape fruits and mango in four provinces: Dong Thap, Long An, Ben Tre and Binh Thuan.

During the last 2 years, COVID-19 has adversely impacted the fruits market in Vietnam.

According to a farmer growing mango in Dong Thap province, there was the time when production costs exceeded the selling price “ripe mangoes were given away to people instead of being sold, they can take as much as they want”, he said.

In Binh Thuan , normally the farmers will break even at  the price of VND 9,000 per kilogram of dragon fruits. However, there were the time when the price plunged to only VND 2,000-3,000 per kilogram. Unsold dragon fruits were disposed or used to feed cattles.

Therefore in the last 2 years, most farmers growing dragon fruits minimized the costs of maintainence of their orchards. They cut down spending on fertilizers, pesticides, labour cost up to 80% to wait for the recovery of the market (VND 12,000-13,000). In this context, the project jointly conducted by MCNV and VNFU is expected to create a reliable and sustainable cooperation between European leading companies and the farmers in Vietnam./.

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Launching 9-month courses in Speech and Language Therapy, and Physical Therapy

Associate Professor (Assoc. Prof.) Nguyen Khac Minh, Rector of Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy speaks at the launching ceremony

The two 9-month courses in Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), and Physical Therapy (PT), were jointly launched by the Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam (MCNV) and the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (UMTP) on April 26, 2022, as part of Inclusion 1 & 2 projects.

The course launching event brought together participants from the Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD), MCNV, Da Nang UMTP, in-charge lecturers of the two courses and 48 trainees who are nurses, rehabilitation technicians and medical staff working in hospitals and health facilities in Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Tri, Kon Tum and Binh Dinh provinces.

The courses are conducted as part of Inclusion 1 & 2 projects, funded by USAID, with the managing agency being the National Action Centre for Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Treatment (NACCET) under Chemical Command, the Ministry of Defense. The Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP) and (CCRD) are two management awardees.

As the implementing partner of the project, MCNV strives to achieve several objectives, including “implementing medium-term training to provide new staff participating in rehabilitation (rehab) professional activities”. The objective will be accomplished through the cooperation with several medical universities, including the Danang UMTP.

Speaking at the event, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Khac Minh, Rector of Da Nang UMTP said: “As one of the long-standing institutions providing rehab training in Vietnam, Da Nang UMTP has received tremendous support from international partners, including MCNV. We highly treasure the contribution of MCNV to enhancing rehab manpower in the Central and Central Highland region.”

Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Khac Minh at the same time noted that: “Based on several successful joint projects with MCNV, especially the most recent project “Developing SALT education in Vietnam”, the Da Nang UMTP hopes to make positive contribution to the 9-month courses and Inclusion projects as a whole, in order to adequately address the shortage of rehab manpower in Vietnam.

On behalf of the management awardees and implementation awardee, MCNV Vietnam Country Director, MSc. MD. Pham Dung expressed his confidence in Da Nang UMTP with strong expertise and plenty of experiences in rehab education. He particularly highlighted the modern approach and working methods of Danang UMTP in the past 5 years, thanks to the collaboration with Australian leading experts in SALT.

MCNV Country Director MSc. MD. Pham Dung speaks at the event.

According to MCNV Vietnam Country Director, the two courses will provide useful knowledge to the trainees, those who are not only involved in the projects from the technical perspective, but are expected to become core manpower of rehab professionals in the long run, contributing to the betterment of the healthcare for the people in Vietnam.

MSc. MD. Pham Dung also affirmed MCNV’s commitment to seeking resources for further development of rehab human resource training in Danang UMTP as well as the rehab system.

If PT is widely known to the public in Vietnam, SALT is still a new profession. At the launching ceremony, some trainees of SALT course shared with us their feelings and expectations.

Ho Si Tam Minh has been working as a PT in Quang Tri General Hospital for three years. Minh acquired his knowledge of SALT via three fundamental SALT modules taken in college and has applied what he had learnt to provide basic support to the patients with difficulties in swallowing and speech. However, with limited understandings, he is unable to conduct SALT assessment, diagnosis and identification of intervention objectives on his own. He therefore expected the 9-month course to equip him with sufficient knowledge and skills, to provide better support to patients with swallow disorder. He furthermore hoped to possess more in-depth skills to assist post intensive care patients, especially after taking off machine ventilator.

Another trainee, Vo Thi Hoa (Thua Thien Hue Rehabilitation Hospital) said: My background is nursing, but I am so passionate about the profession of rehab that I have managed to complete a 12-month PT course earlier. I am very excited to take part in the 9-month SALT. I love SALT because it is an interesting and meaningful profession with high level of applicability in daily life. I really look forward to working in SALT after completing the training”, she said.

Lecturers brief the trainees on the curriculum

The two courses will be implemented right after the launching ceremony and are expected to contribute in manpower improvement of multidisciplinary rehab in five provinces, providing high-quality rehab services to the people of Vietnam./.

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Hoi An Roastery visits MCNV in Quang Tri

Visiting an agroforestry coffee farm of an ethnic farmer

On the 2nd of May 2022, a delegation of Hoi An Roastery (HAR) paid a field visit to Quang Tri province of Vietnam with an aim to investigate market expansion and scale up linkages with coffee producers in the Arabica coffee production hub in Huong Phung commune.

Visiting a shop with bamboo products that were made by ethnic groups (under MCNV’s support)

The HAR’s delegates included the owner of HAR Europe BV, Tjarco van Raad (Director of HAR – Europe BV, Caroline de Bruijne (Sales and Marketing Director of HAR Europe BV), Rudy van Bork (Executive Director of HAR in Vietnam) and Davis Dawson IV Ferdinand (Sales Director of HAR in Vietnam).

MCNV is a long-standing partner of HAR and in the past years facilitator of the coffee value chain of HAR, local processor and coffee producers . At a joint meeting with MCNV, HAR’s members were thoroughly updated on the contract farming and visited MCNV’s museum and project sites.

The delegates visited coffee farms, and met up with coffee producers and processor to discuss the sustainable cooperation through the deployment of Stage 2 of the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development bankable project of “Agroforestry coffee production of Hoi An Roastery & Arabica Coffee Smallholders in Quang Tri province, Vietnam”.

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Enriching the resource for Speech and Language Therapy research in Vietnam

Findings from the graduation theses of Vietnam’s first 14 Masters of Speech and Language Therapy were briefly presented in a hybrid workshop titled “SALT: Sharing findings from some research in Vietnam”.

The workshop was jointly organized by MCNV and HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP) in HCMC on April 28th, 2022, bringing together around 140 participants, including: MSc.MD. Nguyen Phuong Hien (The Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Training), Ms.Ritu Tariyal (Director of Reconciliation and Inclusive Development Department, United States International Aid for Development); Professor (Prof) Doctor (Dr) Lindy McAllister (University of Sydney, Board of the Trinh Foundation Australia); Associate (Assoc) Prof.Dr. Nguyen Van Chinh, Head of the Nursing – Medical Technology Department, HCMC UMP; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Dung, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicines; MSc.MD. Le Quang Duong, Director of VietHealth, MSc.MD.Pham Dung, Country Director of MCNV Vietnam together with SALT international experts, lecturers, volunteers, clinical coach, mentors, interpreters and the trainees graduated from the course.

Participants at the workshop on April 28th, 2022

The workshop aimed to briefly present the research findings from the graduation theses of the first Master of SALT (MSALT), HCMC UMP. The completion of the course marks a historic milestone of SALT in Vietnam, since it is the first time MSALT curriculum is provided in the country. This achievement is an outcome of the project “Developing SALT education in Vietnam” sponsored by USAID via VietHealth and implemented by MCNV with the technical support from the Trinh Foundation Australia. 

Ms.Ritu Tariyal (Director of Reconciliation and Inclusive Development Department, USAID) participates in the workshop.

Since its rollout in late 2017, thanks to the thorough preparation and active participation of multi stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of Health, the first MSALT training program was kick started in November 2019 and accomplished its goal in November 2021 when all the 14 trainees successfully completed their graduation thesis defense. 

Assoc.Prof. Nguyen Van Chinh, Head of the Nursing – Medical Technology Department, HCMC UMP speaks at the workshop

Their research cover a wide range of topic in SALT, ranging from aphasia, experiences in self-help and help-seeking of families who have children with communication disability, experience of community-based rehab staff, stuttering in adults, normative data for the Vietnamese language screener for four-year-old, speech sound characteristics of children with speech sound disorders, etc.

Dr.Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director speaks at the workshop.

In addition to sharing findings from the MSALT graduation theses, the workshop served as a platform for SALT specialists to exchange the views and present their latest in-depth research such as “The Vietnamese Asphasia Test” (Dr.Le Khanh Dien, (Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing) and the  “Effect of dialects on identification and severity of speech sound disorders in Vietnamese children”  (Dr.Pham Thi Ben – National University of Education).

Other issues related to the long-term development of SALT in Vietnam were put into discussion such as preparing for the next cohort, the significance of establishing SALT Association in Vietnam, etc, aiming at the ultimate goal which is adequately meet with the demand of patients, persons with disabilities, the clients of SALT in Vietnam.

Research presentation: Experiences in self-help and help-seeking of families who have children with communication disability in HCMC and Quang Nam
Presentation of research: Experience of community-based rehab staff in working with people with communication and swallowing difficulties.

* In the morning of April 29th, the official graduation ceremony of the first MSALT was held by HCMC UMP followed by a cordial congratulation event held by MCNV.

(First row, from the right) Ms.Nguyen Thi Hoa Le (USAID), Ms. Ngo Y Sa (SALT Project Interpreter), Prof.Dr.Lindy McAllister (TFA Board), Mr. Pham Dung (MCNV Country Director), Mr. Le Quang Duong (VietHealth Director), Ms.Nguyen Phuong Hien (Ministry of Education and Training) participate in the graduation ceremony of 14 SALT students in HCMC UMP.
14 MSALT at the graduation ceremony in HCMC UMP on April 29th, 2022.
Participants at the congratulation ceremony held by MCNV on the same day.

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Combining community-based tourism with sustainable forests management in Quang Tri

MCNV recently joined with local authorities in organizing an event to kick start community-based ecotourism in combination with FSC®-certified sustainable forest management in Chenh Venh village, Huong Phung commune, Huong Hoa district. The event brought together representatives of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism, the Forest control department and the Center of Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion of Huong Hoa district and relevant departments.

A pavilion selling local specialties.

The event was a chance for the participants to expose to exotic eco-tourism services directly provided by Chenh Venh village, such as visiting the campsite in Sa Muoi hill, Chenh Venh waterfall and stream, trekking through natural forests managed by the community, Ro Ve village picnic site while learning about the indigenous cultures embodied in local authentic dishes and performing arts.

In order to put the entire ecotourism services into operation, MCNV and the People’s Committee of Huong Hoa district and Huong Phung commune have spent the last six months assisting Chenh Venh village and the Community Forest Board of the village in the preparation process. Key support includes: converting local residential houses into homestay, installing camping infrastructures (tents, bedding ), restoring the stream bank landscape, installing sign boards, building sanitary facilities, providing training on community-based tourism services, culinary skills, etc.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Chair of Huong Hoa district People’s Committee, Mr. Pham Trong Ho highlighted the advantages of Chenh Venh village in developing community- based tourism, thanks to its magnificent natural landscape and distinctive indigenous culture. He also appreciated MCNV’s practical support, which is believed will lay out a solid foundation for the development of ecotourism in combination with sustainable forest management in the long run.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dai, Chief of MCNV Office in Quang Tri province gives his speech at the event.

According to Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dai, Chief of MCNV Office in Quang Tri province, Chenh Venh village comprises nearly 100 Bru Van Kieu households who oversee up to 1,000 hectare of forest. The jobs created and income generated from non-timber products, community-based tourism and ecosystem services play a significant role in helping the locals manage and protect the forest more effectively.

A lady of Van Kieu ethnic minority in traditional costumes.

Thanks to PROSPER project by MCNV and the European Union, in 2021, the community forests in Chenh Venh village and Ho village (Huong Son commune) have become Vietnam’s first community forests that received the FSC® certificate issued by the World Council of Forest.

 In the time to come, MCNV will continue to support Chenh Venh village in maintaining and developing community-based tourism. In detail, MCNV will help connect the beneficiaries with sponsors and responsible enterprises who are willing to pay for ecosystem services provided by this community, such as carbon absorption, biodiversity and water conservation./.

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GSRD – MCNV new partnership to benefit over 1,000 poor women and children in Phu Yen

A conference to kick start the project “Boosting income and jobs for poor ethnic women in Dong Xuan district” (BIJPO) was held on March 25th  by MCNV and Dong Xuan District People’s Committee.

Building on the achievements of the previous Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture project, BIJPO will be implemented in a period of 36 months, from April 2022 to April 2025.

A family in Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province. Photo: MCNV

 BIJPO aims to tackle the new challenges confronting people of ethnic minorities living in remote mountainous areas brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. In particular, BIJPO will focus on boosting the income, improving food security via the improvement of working condition and agricultural production. The project will benefit about 650 women and 500 children of poor and nearly poor households in 15 villages of 6 communes in Dong Xuan district, and therefore, contribute directly to the realization of the National target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in 2021-2030.

As part of the project, 15 new women-led cooperatives will be formally established and receive support in terms of making joint business plan and building joint assets/facilities for its production and business. Operation of the groups will create alternative jobs and income for the poor women in village who are willing to join and commit the common production plans of the groups. Potential business includes debarking machines of acacia wood; producing dry mushroom products; weaving products, etc.

 At the same time, the project will facilitate 30 household agricultural production groups. These informal groups will be set up and endorsed by local commune government. Each household production group will include around 15 poor and nearly poor households. The project will provide group members with agricultural production training courses; coaching; seedlings, breeding for improving current crops or implementing alternative cash and non-cash crops. Female members will work together to improve and diversify their household agricultural production such as rearing fish, frogs, chicken, ducks, crabs and planting acacia plantation, fruit trees (banana, papaya) vegetables, or pumpkin. The improved productions aim to create both cash and also non-cash income for these households.  The agricultural models will be identified and proposed by group members in accordance with local context and household conditions./.

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Old crafts, new income

Community Development provides extra work

Since 2019, MCNV has been supporting the multi-year forestry project Prosper for farmers and foresters in Quang Tri. With sustainably produced wood they can improve their income and together they ensure the preservation and protection of the forest.

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Magazine 2022-1

For a download of our magazine in Dutch click here.


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Developing clinical coaching guideline in Physical Therapy

In two days (March 19-20), a hybrid workshop on developing clinical coaching guideline in physical therapy (PT) was jointly held by MCNV and the Vietnam Physical Therapy Association (VNPTA).

The workshop attracted over 30 in-person and virtual participants from MCNV, VNPTA, VietHealth, VNAH, PT lecturers and experts from HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP), Da Nang University of Pharmacy and Medical Technology, Hong Bang International University and several hospitals in HCMC.

Participants at the workshop.

The workshop was held as part of the Inclusion 3, a project funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented in Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai provinces, with an aim to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities (PWDs). The USAID’s prime counterpart is the National Action Centre for Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Treatment (NACCET) of the Ministry of National Defence. The implementing partner of the Inclusion 3 project is the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP).

The quality of healthcare and rehabilitation services for PWDs are determined by several factors, of which the capacity of the services providers plays a key role.

As the project’s sub awardee, MCNV works with three technical partners including VNPTA, World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WP), and the Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA)  to enhance the capacity of rehabilitation workforce in Vietnam via coaching and mentoring activities in Physical Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr Tran Van Dan, the VNPTA President, spoke highly of MCNV’s extensive experiences in Vietnam, especially in the area of rehabilitation capacity building, and looked forward to fruitful cooperation with MCNV to further improve the capacity of the country’s workforces specializing in the field of PT in particular and rehabilitation in general.

Mr. Tran Van Dan, the VNPTA President speaks at the workshop.

Subsequently, MCNV Vietnam Country Director, Mr Pham Dung briefed the partcipants on the coaching and mentoring activities. Conducted in 9 months, the coaching and mentoring will benefit 25 health workers who are providing PT services in provincial, district levels, public and private health facilities in Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai. Entrance requirement ranges from six-month certificate holders to college and university degree holders in PT.

Mr.Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director speaks at the workshop.

The 160-hour coaching and mentoring will focus on clinical reasoning, communication skills to interact with colleagues in a multi-disciplinary team, up-to-date professional knowledge, advanced techniques, development of intervention plan, implementation and evaluation of intervention outcomes.

Via virtual platform and on-site coaching and mentoring, the program strives toward its ultimate goal, which is the enhancement of professional qualification of 25 health workers, who will be more confident in providing quality PT services to 900 patients and 250 PWDs.

Currently, a team of six coaches has been recruited and has completed an internationally-recognized mentoring and coaching course to prepare for the program.

Group discussion session.

In the workshop, the participants became involved in a lively discussion to develop the clinical coaching guideline and formulate a concrete plan for the 9-month program./.

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I-THRIVE project closed with significant outcomes

The Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), the Deparments of Health in Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam province recently held the close-out ceremony for the project ‘Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Services Supporting Children with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities to thrive’ (I-Thrive).

Delegates from Quang Nam province.

The project I-Thrive is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, CCIHP being the implementing partner, and MCNV being the co-implementing partner.
The close-out event, held on February 2&3 brought together representatives of USAID, CCIHP, MCNV, the Medical Services Administration (Ministry of Health), Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam Deparment of Health, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and partner hospitals, medical centers in Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam.

After three years of implementation (Sep 2018-March 2022) the project has achieved a number of outcomes, in particular providing interdisciplinary rehabilitation capacity building and basic rehabilitation equipment to 100% of district-level health facilities of Thua Thien – Hue and 50% of district-level medical centers of Quang Nam province.

The capacity-building activities were conducted through a series of 12-month full-time training program in Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) and Physical Therapy (PT). These are also Vietnam’s first 12-month program in rehabilitation training.

Delegates from Thua Thien – Hue (left) and the Medical Services Administration.

Upon completion of the program, 56 trainees, who are healthworkers of province and district-level health facilities have returned to their workplace and applied what they have learnt to provide rehab services to 4.086 patients, of which PT, OT and SATL accounts for 89%, 41% and 6%, respectively.
Along with coaching, I-Thrive has created and implemented intervention program with the multi-disciplinary group in rehabilitation in province-level health facilities, participated by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In addition, the project also achieved a significant milestone, which is the completion of the “National guideline on early identification and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder” and the “Guideline on mechanism of interdisciplinary rehabilitation team”.
These aforementioned outcomes are expected to lay a solid foundation for future projects in rehabilitation and provide the best support for personnes with disabilities./.

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