Document Type: Original Article
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Vietnam’s network of commune health centers (CHCs) have historically managed acute infectious diseases and implemented national disease-specific vertical programs. Vietnam has undergone an epidemiological transition towards non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Limited data exist on Vietnamese CHC capacity to prevent, diagnose, and treat NCDs. In this paper, we assess NCD service readiness, availability, and utilization at rural CHCs in 3 provinces in northern Vietnam.
Between January 2014 and April 2014, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 89 rural CHCs from 3 provinces. Our study outcomes included service readiness, availability of equipment and medications, and utilization for five NCD conditions: hypertension, diabetes, chronic pulmonary diseases, cancer, and mental illnesses.
NCD service availability was limited, except for mental health. Only 25% of CHCs indicated that they conducted activities focused on NCD prevention. Patient utilization of CHCs was approximately 223 visits per month or 8 visits per day. We found a statistically significant difference (P < .05) for NCD service availability, medication availability and CHC utilization among the 3 provinces studied.
This is the first multi-site study on NCD service availability in Vietnam and the first study in a mountainous region consisting predominately of ethnic minorities. Despite strong government support for NCD prevention and control, Vietnam’s current network of CHCs has limited NCD service capacity.