PATH and the Vietnam Ministry of Health convened a working group of technical experts to review the current policies, disease burden data, and evidence for new interventions to prevent and treat diarrheal disease. Based on the group’s efforts, Vietnam has updated its national prevention and treatment guidelines for diarrheal disease -- "Guidelines for Management of Diarrhea in Children".
The new guidelines highlight the role health workers play in preventing and treating diarrhea, particularly in the education they provide to parents. The guidelines highlight a comprehensive set of interventions that can prevent diarrhea, such as handwashing with soap and appropriate hygiene, and treat diarrhea, including oral rehydration therapy and zinc. Low-osmolarity oral rehydration solution (ORS) and zinc are two new treatment interventions that are included in the updated guidelines.
In addition to supporting development of the new guidelines, PATH worked in collaboration with the Binh Dinh provincial health authorities to pilot the new guidelines at the local level. The pilot included provision of zinc treatment for diarrhea (with 24,000 zinc tables donated by Nutriset). Additionally, "ORS New" is now produced locally by the Binh Dinh Pharmacy and Health Equipment company, making it available in local pharmacies and health facilities. 44 ORT corners were set up at district hospitals and commune health stations to increase the accessibility of treatment facilities. These ORT corners also serve as education places where health workers demonstrate how to make and properly administer ORS treatment.
Zinc Provision: The pilot provided 200,400 zinc tablets to Binh Dinh in December 2009, with 105,600 of the tablets distributed by the project’s end for children under 6 years old. The drugs were distributed free to children patients of provincial and district hospitals and commune health centers.
Knowledge/awareness raising: In 2009, 100,000 leaflets, 900 posters, and 600 copies of the guidelines on diarrhea treatment were printed and distributed to health facilities and kindergartens/nursery schools throughout the province to increase awareness of diarrhea prevention and treatment. A total of 291 hospital-based counseling sessions with mothers were conducted in 2009 and 232 in 2010; at commune health centers and in communities in Hoai Nhon and Tay Son districts, 331 were conducted in 2010.
Based on project activities, zinc was added to the national essential drugs list and Binh Dinh Provincial Health Insurance now covers zinc for patients with health insurance.
Project activities have now concluded in Binh Dinh province.