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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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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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CANTEEN case studies presented in closing workshop

Last December the CANTEEN program in Nong district in Laos was finalized with a closing workshop, in which most of the participants of the project attended: MCNV, EU, provincial and local authorities. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 travel restriction it wasn’t possible a delegation of the AFAS Foundation, Dutch funding partner of the project, nor anyone of MCNV head office, attended the meeting.

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Developing curriculum for 9-month course in Physical Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy

Delegates in the workshop on developing curriculum for 9-month SALT course.

February 24, 2022 – The Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and the University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (UMTP) of Da Nang recently organized an online workshop on developing a 09-month course curriculum in Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech and Language Therapy (SALT).
The workshop had the participation of more than 29 delegates who were representatives of the Vietnam Rehabilitation Association; the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), the Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD), the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), the Da Nang University of Medicine and Pharmacy Technology, Hospital of Northern Moutainous Quang Nam, Phu Ninh District Medical Center, Que Son District Medical Center.

The Project “Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in provinces heavily sprayed with agent orange” (Inclusion Project) is 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. CCIHP, CCRD are management awardees and MCNV is one of the implementation awardees, taking responsibility of implementing activities related to rehabilitation manpower enhancement in 8 provinces, including: Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Binh Đinh, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai.

Delegates in the workshop on developing curriculum for 9-month PT course.

As part of the project, the objective ‘to implement medium-term training to provide new staff participating in rehab professional activities’ will be accomplished in cooperation with several universities, including the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (UMTP).

The University will be MCNV’s partner in conducting PT, SALT medium term training (with the duration of 9 months) as well as a number of continuing medical education courses on PT for rehabilitation workers.

Speaking at the workshop on developing curriculum for the PT and SALT 9-month course, Dr. Le Thi Thuy, Vice-rector of Danang UMPT, expressed her strong commitment in accompanying MCNV to gain the best results.
The draft of the 9-month training curriculum on PT and SALT was subsequently presented by MD. Cao Bich Thuy, Deputy Head of the Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, UMTP. These two courses will benefit provincial and district health workers in the provinces of Binh Dinh and Kon Tum.
At the workshop, various feedbacks from the participants were collected and synthesized to facilitate the completion of the curriculum./.

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Developing curriculum for a 9-month course in Occupational Therapy

An online workshop on developing curriculum for a 9-month course in occupational therapy (OT) was successfully organized by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and the Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy (Hue UMP).

Over 30 participants attended the workshop, including representatives from the Vietnam Rehabilitation Association; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), the Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD); Hue UMP; Health Department of Thua Thien Hue Province, Thua Thien Hue Provincial Rehabilitation Hospital and Phu Vang District Health Center.

The Project “Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in provinces heavily sprayed with agent orange” (Inclusion Project) is 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. CCIHP, CCRD are management awardees and MCNV is one of the implementation awardees, taking responsibility of implementing activities related to rehabilitation manpower enhancement in 8 provinces, including: Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Binh Đinh, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai. 

In order to accomplish the objective entitled ‘To implement medium-term training to provide new staff participating in rehab professional activities‘, MCNV will cooperate with several national-level universities to implement a series of training activities, including the upcoming 9-month OT course, which will be conducted in collaboration with Hue UMP.

Speaking at the workshop, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Minh Tam, Vice Principal of Hue UMP affirmed the commitment to accompanying MCNV in effectively conducting the 9-month OT course, while continuing the cooperation with the organization in implementing other significant training activities to improve the quality of rehabilitation services.

To give the participants an overview of the training course, at the workshop, MD. Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director presented to the participants the scientific and professional approach in adapting the 12-month training course curriculum (earlier approved in ‘Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Services Supporting Children with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities to thrive’ (I-THRIVE)’ project into the 9-month training course curriculum in OT.

Based on online surveys, in-depth interviews and study of available materials, MCNV has proposed an expected competency framework for the 9-month training. According to this framework, there will be some deletion, shortenings or supplementation of suitable training contents.

The outline of the 9-month training course was subsequently presented by MD. Ha Chan Nhan, Head of Rehabilitation Department, Hue UMP and discussed at the workshop.

Tentatively, after synthesizing ideas from the workshop participants, Hue UMP and MCNV will adapt the outline and detailed training curriculum, submitting to the Science Council of Hue UMP for appraisal and approval in preparation for the enrollment and training in April, 2022./.

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A flashback on Vietnam’s first cohort of Master in Speech and Language Therapy

Despite various challenges posed by the Covid-19, in November 2021, the first cohort of 14 students successfully graduated from the first Master in Speech and Language Therapy at University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCMC, marking a significant milestone on the development journey of Speech and Language Therapy in Vietnam.

A huge gap in the unmet need of speech and language therapy
Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) is a specialty of applied science, which works to provide treatment, support and care for clients with speech, communication and swallowing impairment/disorders.

These disorders can be associated with conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson, cleft lips and cleft palate, head-neck cancer, etc.

Inability to speak, slurred speech, stuttering, articulation errors, etc, vastly hinder communication, negatively affect the quality of life, limiting social inclusion, access to education and career development.

SALT got recognition nearly 100 years ago since the formation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1926. Nowadays, SALT has been widely practiced in Europe, Australia and developed countries, territories in other regions. However, in Vietnam, SALT has only been present for around 10 years since the commencement of SALT short-term training conducted in several medical universities (Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Hanoi Medical University, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy).

SALT services in Vietnam has been in high demand. According to the National Survey on People with Disabilities conducted in 2016, over 7 per cent of the population aged 2 years and older, – around 6.2 million, have a disability (mobility, hearing, sight, mental disorder, etc).
Despite the absence of official statistical data on the number of people needing SALT, according to the research ‘Disability in Vietnam 1999: A Meta-analysis of the Data” (Kane, 1999), 17%-27% of persons with disabilities in Vietnam have difficulties with speech and language.

However, due to the lack of manpower, this need remains unmet. According to the “Surveying the Demand for SALT education in Vietnam” conducted by MCNV in 2018, by late 2017, there were only 65 people who were trained and basically qualified to provide SALT services in the country.

Aiming to support Vietnam to address this need, a project titled “Speech and Language Therapy Education Development in Vietnam” was rolled out. Implemented in 5 year (2018-2022), the project is funded by USAID Vietnam via VietHealth, dedicating to lay a foundation for Vietnam’s first university-based SALT programs, including a Master course at UMP HCMC and a Bachelor course at Da Nang UMTP. Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA) participates in the project as a technical consulting partner,

Adapting in the face of adversity

The Master’s program in SALT commenced in November 2019 with 14 students who are working for HCMC UMP, Hue UMP, Da Nang UMTP, Hai Duong Medical Technical University and Tay Ninh School of Health.

A lesson on cleft lips and cleft palate as part of the Master programe in SALT.

Amidst the inevitable obstacles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, MCNV and partners managed to come up with a set of adaptation solutions to minimize the negative impacts, ensure teaching quality and at the same time, ensure safety for the lecturers and students.

Since the time when COVID-19 hit Vietnam, most of the training activities, including clinical practice, have been shifted from direct to virtual training method, with the support of on-site Vietnamese SALT and remote international experts. The curriculum was revised, adapted while new teaching materials were developed.

Professional Zoom accounts were maintained to facilitate online learning. At the same time, memberships of Simucase – a credible clinical simulation platform – were purchased for all students and supervisors, enabling the users to assess, diagnose, make recommendations, and provide intervention for virtual patients.

During thesis research, students received continuous support from experienced supervisors of HCMC UMP and universities in Australia.

Virtual discussions between supervisors and students were facilitated with the support of assistants and interpreters to help clearly identify the objective, content and research methods of the thesis.

Encouraging outcomes
In early November 2021, all of the 14 students finally completed the graduation thesis defense. Their research covered a wide range of clinically applicable topics including stuttering, sound assessment for children, communication disability, demand for training in SALT of community-based rehabilitation therapists.

The Graduation Thesis Defence of the Master program in SALT.

More importantly, the project has benefited HCMC UMP in the long-term, since it has supported the Department of Rehabilitation in developing the proposal to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) on issuing a training code to recognize the Master in Rehabilitation Techniques program. This Major code was approved by MOET, qualifying HCM UMP to conduct training of the three specialties (PT, OT, ST).

At the same time, the project has equipped the HCMC UMP and Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy with basic infrastructures for SALT training as well as connecting these institutions with a network of accredited SALT experts and organizations worldwide.

Building on the results brought out by the project, three designated medical universities across Vietnam are getting ready to independently offer Bachelor program in SALT.

A virtual lesson on Simucase as part of the Bachelor program in SALT, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy.

While HCMC UMP is training the second cohort of Master program in SALT, aiming to develop a clinical supervisor team in hospitals, at HMTU, the first cohort of Bachelor program has been enrolled. Following the piloting course in Da Nang UMP, this is Vietnam’s second cohort of Bachelor program in SALT. These progresses signal the sustainable impacts of the project as well as the bright outlook of SALT in Vietnam./.

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The seed of prosperity

It’s the beginning of dry season in the North of Huong Hoa district (Quang Tri province). Ho Van Dinh is walking along the stream, heading toward the Ta Bang mountain, under the blazing sun.

Dinh’s family used to live at the foot of Ta Bang mountain, in Nguon Rao Pin village. However, after the historic flood swept through Quang Tri in October 2020, several massive cracks have appeared in this mountain. To protect people from the hazards of landslide, local authorities have swiftly relocated 32 households living nearby, including Dinh’s, to a safer place.

After climbing up a nearly-2-km bumpy slope, Dinh stopped walking. Pointing toward a land plot filled with stones and rocks, he said: “I planted trees there. The total area is 1.6 hectares”.

Dinh and a three-month grown Tung tree.

At the first glance, it seems like nothing can survive on this barren land, except grasses and shrubs. Nonetheless, thanks to the hardwork of Dinh’s family, nowadays, many young tung trees (Vernicia Montana) have started to showcase their vital Eden-green color together with “lat hoa” (Chukrasia tabularis).

“These trees were planted by me, my wife, my three sons and their wives. It took us around 3, 4 days in a row to complete the work. After three months, the survival rate is nearly 100%,” Dinh said happily, while busily filling soil around the root of a young tree.

A young Tung tree on Ta Bang mountain.

Dinh’s household is one of 100 households in four villages of Huong Son and Huong Phung commune supported by the project “Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER project) co-funded by the European Union (EU) and MCNV.

In the year 2021, PROSPER project has partly funded the labour cost for these 100 households to plant tung trees together with other indigenous plants covering a total area of 139.4 hectare. The plantation density is 1,333 trees per hectare, including 1,067 tungs trees and 266 indigenous plants.

In the same year, MCNV has piloted planting tung trees to prevent landslide in several locations in Huong Son, Huong Lap and Huong Viet communes, with a total area of 42 hectares. Earlier, in 2020, two villages in Huong Phung commune receive funding for forest plantation in an area of 120 hectares. So far, the total area of forest plantation in Northern Huong Hoa supported by the PROSPER project has been 300 hectares.

“Planting Tung trees help protect the soil and water. It is easy for Tung trees to grow here, thanks to the suitability with local soils and climates,” said Dinh.

“It also benefits us in terms of income generation. When it comes to the harvesting season, all of us go to collect the seeds. The sale of the seeds helps us earn additional income to afford food for the family,” he shared.

Dinh’s family has been growing tung trees in over 10 years, covering an area of 1,2 hectares. According to Dinh, fresh tung seeds is sold at VND 5,000-6,000 per kilogram, while the price of dried tung seeds is doubled.

Tung trees can help protect water and soil.

Normally, a tung tree starts to mature to bear fruits in their third year and yield commercial quantities at three to four years of age. The oil obtained from Tung seeds is commercially valuable, and is popularly used as the ingredients for the production of wood finishing products, paints and ink.

According to a research by MCNV in 2020, tung tree plantation in Northern Huong Hoa covers a total area of 2,400 hectares (in combination with other indigenous trees), and 300 hectares of Tung trees dispersedly planted in household surroundings, yielding an annual amount of dried seeds of up to 1,500 tonnes, equivalent to VND 15 billion per year.

It is estimated that each hectare of tung trees can produce 3-4 tonnes of dried seeds, worth VND 30-40 million/year, if they are properly taken care of.

Recently, Quang Tri province has included tung tree in the list of key species contributing to the province’s implementation plan of the project “Planting one billion trees in the period of 2021 – 2025” launched by the Government of Vietnam./.

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The Fruit Quality project introduction workshop was held on January 21st, 2022.

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.

Key interventions focus on applying advanced cultivation techniques and capacity building for farmers households and the supporting systems. The project recipient is the Vietnam Farmer’s Union, the representative of 11 million farmers in Vietnam

Ben Tre Farmer’s Union

The new techniques in terms of soil testing, fertigation system, plant protection chemicals and linkage to export markets will be transferred and introduced by well-known technical partner Dutch companies (Eurofins, YARA, Bayer, Prins, etc) and various knowledge institutes of Vietnam.

Dong Thap Farmer’s Union

As part of the project, trial fields will be established at several farms, to support awareness raising and training of farmers. At the same time, 72 capacity-building workshops will be provided to approximately 600 farmers, 12 business connecting and knowledge sharing events.

Binh Thuan Farmer’s Union
Long An Farmer’s Union

In 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Mekong River Delta regarding the Agricultural Transition were signed by the government of Vietnam and the Netherlands.

In alignment with the Mekong Delta Agricultural Transformation Plan 2021-2030, with a vision toward 2050, the project sets long-term goal of transforming the farming systems and fruits export to ensure sustainable growth and generating jobs, as well as fostering win-win partnership between Dutch enterprises and Vietnamese counterparts.

If these goals are attained, the project will contribute to Vietnam-Netherlands strategic cooperation./.

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