Smoking cessation within the health sector in Vietnam

Background: Tobacco is a leading cause of chronic disease, and will be responsible for more than 8 million deaths per year by 2030. Controlling tobacco use is a top priority for many low and middle-income countries, where non-communicable diseases contribute to an increasing proportion of preventable deaths.

Vietnam is a resource-limited country in south-east Asia where almost half of the adult male population currently smokes. The introduction of new tobacco control regulations within the health sector aim to contribute to reductions in smoking prevalence. However, substantial gaps remain between policy and practice.

Project details: This project aims to develop the tools required to reduce smoking rates among patients presenting to health-care sector of Vietnam. It is nested within the Vietnam COPD, Asthma and Smoking Cessation (V-CAPS) study, a five-year NHMRC-funded project that aims to reduce exacerbations of chronic lung disease in Vietnam.

The scope ofproject(s) undertaken with this study will depend upon the interest and skills of the successful candidate, following consultation with the supervisor. Specific components of this body of work may include the following:

1.    A qualitative study exploring patient and health-care worker attitudes towards smoking cessation in Vietnam in rural and urban areas of Vietnam. This work will focus upon obstacles to effective delivery of smoking cessation interventions within the health sector, and will inform subsequent development of smoking cessation interventions.

2.    Quantitative evaluation of the implementation of national “Smoke Free Hospitals” policies within four levels of the Vietnamese health system (Central, Provincial, District and Commune).

3.    Using these studies to design interventions to scale-up smoking cessation for health workers within the government health sector.

Project team: The project is being implemented in Vietnam by the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, in partnership with collaborators from the Vietnam National Lung Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital and Vietnam Steering Committee on Smoking and Health (VINACOSH). The research will be conducted in Vietnam, with periodic visits to Vietnam required throughout the project.

Desired capabilities: This project is suitable for students with an interest in mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, with a focus upon translational research and policy development. Knowledge of the health system challenges faced by resource-limited settings is an advantage. Suitable candidates will be cross-culturally competent and motivated by a desire to improve health care in resource-limited settings.

Supervisors: Dr Greg Fox and Professor Joel Negin (Australia), and Dr Nguyen Thu Anh (Woolcock Institute, Vietnam).

Timing: Approximately October 2017 to 2020

Funding: Some funding for travel to Vietnam will be provided to cover the period of field work.