People with disability and Elderly

Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in provinces sprayed with Agent Orange (Inclusion Project)


INCLUSION aims to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities, regardless of cause, in provinces heavily sprayed with Agent Orange (Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, and Kon Tum), by expanding and improving rehabilitation and social services, enhancing policy implementation, and building service provider capacity of national and local government disabilities agencies as well as community disabilities organizations.

What are we doing?

Based on our competency and experience, MCNV mostly contributes to Inclusion in the area of capacity building for rehabilitation staff working in these aforementioned province’s hospitals and health centers. 

The capacity building is provided in the format of short term and medium-term training (6 – 9 months), continuing medical education course and virtual coaching in PT, OT, ST and basic rehab techniques.
The courses are conducted in coordination with several medical universities in Vietnam and also overseas (Australia, India etc).

MCNV has been playing a significant role in filling the gap of manpowers in new rehab specialization in Vietnam like OT and ST via supporting the establishment of OT and ST Bachelor & Master curriculum.
However, the Bachelor and Master level requires several years to complete, meanwhile there is a serious shortage of rehab staff in the aforementioned provinces. Therefore short-term and medium-term training, continuing medical education and virtual coaching are what MCNV focuses on, to address the scarcity as soon as possible.

In addition to capacity building – which are being implemented in all the three Inclusion projects, MCNV also contributes to the Inclusion 1 (in Quang Tri, Hue, Quang Nam) via developing rehab services for PwDs via providing home-based care, designing rehab packages and orthopedic instruments.
What we have achieved so far?

  • 17 physicians completed 6-month course in Basic rehabilitation
  • 89 health providers completed three 9-month courses in OT, PT, ST
  • 202 PwDs receive rehabilitation services, benefiting 79% of which in terms of function improvement
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Capacity building for Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education project


Located in the Southwest border of Vietnam, Dien Bien province has a population of nearly 550,000. According to a statistical research conducted in 2018, the number of children with disability in the province is over 3,000 (age 0-18), of which 643 kids have never been to school (21%), 773 have dropped out (24%). The rest of the children are going to local schools (from preschool to high school level), accounting for 55%.

What we are doing?

  • MCNV kick started supporting healthcare and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities in Dien Bien province in 2014. In 2016, MCNV and the Dien Bien provincial Department of Education and Training signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to declare the willingness to establish and mobilize funding for the construction of the Support Center.
  • The project was subsequently financially sponsored by Thien Tam Foundation (VINGROUP), pledging to provide funding for part of the infrastructure (a 2-storey buiding with 8 classrooms).
  • In October 2019, the Supporting Center was officially put into operation. With financial and technical supports by MCNV, the staff of the center have been benefited from various capacity building activities.
  • Since December 2019, the Center started to admit students with disabilities. The Center has so far providing teaching and daycare services for over 90 children with different forms of disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, speech impairment, hearing impairment, autism and DOWN syndrome.

What we’ve achieved so far?

At the end of the 2021-2022 school year, 17/90 students were qualified to attend mainstream schools.

Currently, MCNV is continuing to assist the Center as well as the Dien Bien province on providing capacity-building on early detection, early intervention and early education.

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Development of Speech and Language Therapy Education in Vietnam


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,

The project aims at establishing a solid foundation for development of an official education system of Speech and Language Therapy profession in Vietnam

What we’ve achieved so far:

In over the past five years, SALT project has successfully achieved its key goals, with the completion of Vietnam’s first Masters and Bachelors of SALT, conducted in coordination with HCM University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP HCM) and Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (DUMPT) respectively.

In over the past five years, SALT project has successfully achieved its key goals, with the completion of Vietnam’s first Masters and Bachelors of SALT, conducted in coordination with HCM University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP HCM) and Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (DUMPT) respectively.

The two MSALT and BSALT courses cover all the SALT scopes following international education in SALT, including assessment, diagnosis, habilitation, rehabilitation, counseling, and prevention services for individuals from birth through old age who have some type of speech, voice, language, fluency, cognitive-communicative, or swallowing problems due to delayed development or as a result of an injury, cancer, stroke or progressive neurological disease. The MSALT was for 2 years and the BSALT was for 4 years. Due to the shortage of qualified Vietnamese SALT trainers, most of the trainers are from overseas (Australia, the UK, US, New Zealand).

With the completion of the MSALT and BSALT courses, the Project has supported four Medical Universities which are UMP HCMC, DUMPT, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy (Hue UMP) and Hai Duong Medical Technical University (HMTU) on capacity building for SALT trainers and BSALT, MSALT curriculum development.

As a part of the Project, a network of national and international SALT academics, practitioners and clinical sites were established to support the development of SALT in Vietnam in terms of education and services.

Concurrently, the awareness of SALT among rehabilitation professionals and the public has been vastly improved, thanks to the frequent maintenance and updates of a SALT website ( and a Facebook page (

What we are doing right now?

MCNV is currently continuing to supporting UMP HCMC, DUMPT and HMTU in training the ongoing and several upcoming cohorts of SALT Bachelor and Master students.

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Development of Occupational Therapy Education in Vietnam


Rehabilitation has been developed in Vietnam for more than 40 years; it is still a big gap of Occupational Therapy (OT) development. The main rehabilitation practice in Vietnam is Physical Therapy (PT), yet there are currently no qualified occupational therapists in Vietnam. OT services are provided by physiotherapists with minimal clinical training in OT, or by occupational therapists from other countries who come for short periods. It is only available in a few large hospitals.

Specific OT services were unavailable for mental rehabilitation, elder care, home-based care, school-based services for children with special needs, etc. The faculty (PT and Rehabilitation doctors) may not be well-equipped to teach OT in depth, due to lack of experience, equipment, and resources, limited information from books, especially those written in English. In addition to the lack of qualified OT doctors, those qualified with Masters to teach OT are not available in Vietnam. The participants of OT training survey were of the unanimous opinion that OT education needs to be commenced in Vietnam.

Being aware of the fact that OT is essential to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services, the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s orientation of rehabilitation development up to year 2020 stated that OT is one of specialized fields in rehabilitation. It is obligatory to establish Occupational Therapy Departments in Rehabilitation Hospitals as well as Provincial General Hospitals.

MCNV’s responses

In October 2015, MCNV received a fund from USAID to run a 5 – year project of OT training development in Vietnam. The project’s goal is to create the foundation and necessary conditions in order to develop the training system of professional OT in Vietnam, including the provision of OT trainers, competency-based training curriculum and OT-related policies. Specific objective of this project as follows:

  • To develop a group of capable OT trainers in HMTU and UMP HCMC.
  • To develop a 4-year competency-based OT curriculum at a regional level.
  • To pilot an OT Bachelor training course in HMTU and UMP HCMC
  • To set up two OT units for practicing during training procedure.

To implement this project in the context of having no OT experts and trainers, MCNV already approached the Manipal College of Health Professions, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (India) to ask for technical support during the project implementation. Two universities in Vietnam were involved in this project including Hai Duong Medical Technical University (HMTU) and University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City (UMP HCMC). The project has also received strong supports from Administration of Medical Service and Administration of Science Technology and Training, MoH.

Achievements so far

After almost one year conducting the project, the following results have been achieved:

  • 05 trainers from HMTU and UMP HCMC obtain the Master of OT degree from the Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE)
  • The first batch of Bachelor of OT graduated from HMTU in August 2019
  • Bachelor Degree in Rehabilitation Technique is officially provided by HMTU and UMP HCMC


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