Intestinal worms are the most common type of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the disease has ravaged many developing countries throughout the years. In Vietnam, the worms have greatly impacted communities through increasing morbidity and decreasing productivity and school attendance. The capacity of the Vietnamese government-led school-based deworming already exists and many provinces have already been targeted by deworming campaigns. Dubai Cares and its partner, Thrive Networks, have teamed to provide cost-effective services to increase the deworming scope. Technical assistance is also provided to improve the quality of school based deworming in Vietnam through innovative improvement strategies. This assistance adheres to international best practices to maximize deworming efficiency.
According to estimates, the number of children at risk of worm infection is 8.5 million in Vietnam. To initiate solutions to this issue, Dubai Cares is providing support to Thrive Networks to implement this Integrated Deworming, Sanitation and Hygiene in 4 provinces. This in turn will help deworm around 700,000 children. Dubai Cares along with its implementing partner work through the government system from the central level down to commune level, to get deworming pills to all school children in the targeted provinces. The Integrated Deworming, Sanitation and Hygiene program in Vietnam has provided training sessions before each Mass Drug Administration (MDA). Prior to the program’s launch, there was very limited if any guidance given to front-line workers about how to implement the MDA, record the data, and manage adverse events. Head of Communal Health Center in Nghe An province shares, “We have been implementing MDAs for years, but we don’t get trained at a higher level. As we are doctors and nurses, we know how to administer the drug. There is a guideline from Ministry of Health on adverse event and we follow this guideline. It would be really beneficial for us if the program could provide us training.”
Training was operated as a cascade, whereby government officials from the provinces receive training in Hanoi and then returned to their respective provinces to provide training to district level officials – these officials subsequently provided training at the commune level to commune health workers and teachers. Representatives from all commune health centers and schools (including all satellite schools) were trained through this cascade. Trained personnel subsequently returned to their place of work and informed their colleagues about what’s involved in the up-coming MDA and what role they would play. The quality of training will be assessed through the use of pre-/post-tests, whereby all participants at a training session (approximately 30 trainees) will be asked to complete a short multiple-choice test (15 minutes) prior to the training and again at the end so that the gain in knowledge can be assessed. Ms. Nga from Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province shares, “The training is not lengthy, but it is so useful to me. I have learned new things about deworming, its impact, as well as how to prevent worm infections. It is also a chance for health officials and school teachers to cooperate better in MDA implementation to help our kids have better health and school performance.”