Health Services Delivery for Poor Rural Communities in Vietnam

Bilateral Project #7032255/A-032161
funded by the Government of Canada through the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Funds from CIDA: $4,500,000

In-kind contributions: $1,100,000

Total funds:$5,600,000

Project Team Members

Left to right: Dr. Lan Gien, Prof. Judith Blakeley, Dr. Alice Gaudine

Absent: Prof. Marilyn Beaton (2004-2006)

Dr. Mauren Laryea (2004-2007)


In Vietnam:

  • SocTrang Department of Health [which operates SocTrang Medical College]
  • Thanh Hoa Medical College

In Canada:

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canadian Executing Agency (CEA)

Supporting Partners:

  • College of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho-Chi-Minh City, VN
  • Hue Medical College, Hue, VN

Team Members

MUNSON Team Members:

VN Team Members:

  • Dr. Pham Van Dang / Dr. Tran Van Dung, SocTrang Department of Health
  • Ms. Tran Thi Thuan / Ms. Nguyen Thi Suong, University of Medicine&Pharmacy of Ho-Chi-Minh City
  • Dr. Vu H. Cuong, ThanHoa Medical College
  • Dr. Tran Duc Thai, Hue Medical University

Map of Vietnam

Purpose and Objective


To reduce poverty by improving health, nutrition, and better training of PHC workers so that health care is more accessible to the poor.


  • Contribute to the reduction of rural poverty in North Central and the Mekong Delta (VN) by improving the health of rural and ethnic communities.
  • Improve nursing education by including PHC to content and educating nursing faculty.


  • Improve the health of the ethnic minorities and poor rural residents in targeted areas of Thanh Hoa and Soc Trang.
  • Enhance the capacity of partner institutions to sustain the training program in PHC.


  • Strengthen partner institution schools of nursing to sustain PHC program.
  • Develop, deliver a PHC program and train a core group of health professionals in PHC in targeted institutions/clinics.
  • Strengthen rural health clinics in targeted areas to provide improved health care and increased access to health services.
  • Strengthen and expand a community outreach program in PHC.
  • Manage project effectively and efficiently.

Project Context and Rationale

The project "Health Services Delivery for Poor Rural Communities in Vietnam" has been developed to support Vietnam (VN)'s goals to reduce poverty. Poverty reduction involves improving health, nutrition, providing better housing, clothing, and equal opportunity for self development. Based on this definition, the project proposes to reduce poverty by improving health, nutrition and better training of primary health care workers so that health care is more accessible to the poor. The expected outcomes directly address the HRD priority of VN and its national poverty reduction plan.
There are six Vietnam Development Goals that are based on the UN Millennium Development Goals. The following statement indicates how these goals will be addressed. This project targets six of these goals:
  • Goal 1: Reduce the percentage of poor and hungry households. The reduction of poverty is the overall goal of this project, as discussed above.
  • Goal 2: Universalize education and improve education quality. This project will improve the quality of BN education in VN. Further, rural health workers skills will be upgraded. Moreover, improved PHC will lead to continuous health education for the public.
  • Goal 3. Ensure gender equality and women empowerment. Women are targeted in PHC interventions as well as through graduate nursing education for faculty. By working with the Women's Union in implementing PHC approaches with women, women in the Women's Union and in the community will be empowered.
  • Goal 4. Reduce child mortality, child malnutrition and reduce the birth rate. Health education will include information about child care, child nutrition, and family planning.
  • Goal 5. Improve maternal health. Health education will include information about women's health. Women will be targeted for health education.
  • Goal 6. Reduce HIV/AIDS infection and eradicate other major diseases. Graduate students will be encouraged to explore culturally relevant approaches to HIV prevention in their graduate studies. Community health nurses courses will include prevention strategies for major infection such as HIV/AIDS.

Project Achievements to Date: March 1, 2005 - Mar 31, 2007

Rural Health Clinic Support
  • Five Model Clinic sites in Soc Trang (ST) have been selected.
  • Health care equipment for these 5 model clinics is in place. Training of 12 clinic staff on computer use and ongoing monitoring of equipment use has occurred.
  • Project car has been purchased and maintained.
  • Tendering process has been explored for the procurement of health education equipment and materials for 25 rural clinics in ST.
  • Graduate nursing students have completed their clinical and research field work at the model clinic sites and surrounding communities.
  • Health care staff from ST and Ho Chi Minh City have been selected for a study tour of clinics in rural Thailand.
Primary Health Care (PHC) Program Development and Delivery
  • Program and course syllabi have been developed for 9 courses [Health Assessment, Teaching/Learning, Communication/ Counselling, Management of Clinics, Management of Common Illnesses, Maternal Child Health, Mental Health Nursing, Community Health/ PHC Nursing (theory and clinical)].
  • Courses have been translated into Vietnamese.
  • 26 nursing teachers have completed courses on Health Assessment and Management of Common Illnesses (workshop format). A further 26 nursing teachers subsequently completed these 2 courses.
  • 17 nursing teachers completed courses on Maternal Child Health, Communication/Counselling and Teaching/Learning Mental Health, and Community Health/PHC Nursing.
  • These 17 teachers completed clinical practice at rural health clinics in Soc Trang.
  • PHC related nursing text books have been collected and distributed to partner schools’ libraries.
  • Updated teaching equipment has been provided to partner schools.
Graduate Nursing Studies
  • Nine nursing teachers have completed the MN program at St. Louis College in Thailand. One other has completed 3 of 4 semesters at Loma Linda University of USA in Thailand. This group and 17 PHC program graduates are equipped to teach rural health professionals and others about PHC.
  • Associated clinical and research projects were completed in ST (2 community assessments, 35 health education sessions to school children, rural households and residents on 9 topics, and 9 research projects).
  • Independently conducted 4 health education sessions in ST with PHC certificate students on 3 topics.
  • Home visits conducted to assess health status of family members and implement appropriate interventions.
PHC Community Outreach
  • Preliminary discussions have been held with Women’s Union representatives about suitable heath education topics for rural women.
  • Through students’ clinical practice, nearly 1000 rural residents participated in health education sessions and were better informed re self care.
  • Research and Evaluation
  • All PHC Program courses, workshops and teaching has been evaluated by students/participants.
  • Baseline data collection is being planned.
  • Workshop on Results-Based Management and project design conducted with all project partners.
  • Almost one thousand rural residents have benefited directly from students' clinical practice in PHC.


Centre for International Nursing

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000