COHED’s Research and Advocacy work

As a non-governmental organisation – COHED remains dedicated to improving the quality of life of Vietnam’s most vulnerable people via research, support interventions, capacity building and policy advocacy.
A key cornerstone of COHED’s work is its commitment to researching and identifying the needs of Vietnam’s most vulnerable communities in order to provide a coherent voice for their demands and needs. Our approach has combined surveys, structured interviews, focus group discussion, observation, case studies and post intervention briefings in order to allow these communities to fully express their opinions in order to provide the basis for  interventions design and for policy development by all related stakeholders.

Through these research and intervention methods, our programmes have engaged communities though capacity building and community development processes and advocacy work that have empowered local people and eased their access to public social services.


Highlights of COHED’s advocacy approach in action.

Community-based Advocacy showcases on community empowerment

1. Through our Bread for the World-funded capacity building development project in two communes namely Dong Thanh and Xuan Hoa  (Vu thu District, Thai Binh province) , we mainstreamed  hygiene and environment intervention as one component of the project. This two-years project was implemented  during 2008-2009.One of the project objectives was to strengthen the capacity of local population in protecting the communal environment. Environmental hygiene activities included rubbish collection and safe disposal  were  carried out on a weekly basis by the two groups, along with communication events which featured the participation of over 2,000 people. This activity was aimed at enhancing community awareness and responsibilities in terms of environment protection and epidemic prevention. Based on the good practice of local people with the technical support from COHED center, local  Communal People’s Councils  approved a policy to establish environment teams to provide fee-based  environmental and sanitation services in the  two commnes.

2. Under the Bread for the World funded project to empower HIV/AIDS affected and poor households in Tien Luong Commune, Phu Tho Province through capacity building in community development during the 2007-2009 period, COHED also demonstrated   a similar success.

Researchs for Advocacy:

1.      Engendering the Care and Treatment Response: Addressing the Needs of Women Living with HIV in Vietnam – A research study in 2008-2010


To better understand the needs of  women living with HIV in Hai Phong and   Hochiminh city  and to provide useful information to improve the services for these women, the Boston University Center for Global Health and Development (CGHD), together with researchers at two Vietnam-based organizations, the Center for Community Health and Development (COHED), and Life Center, conducted a research study from 2008-2010. The study’s findings are intended to be used by governmental and non-governmental agencies in Vietnam to strengthen and improve programs and policies for WLHIV.
The study was carried out in two major cities: Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong. We utilized a quantitative-qualitative mixed methods design, including quantitative pre-post data collection, to compare data collected first at baseline and again twelve months later. The baseline assessment focused on the health and social service needs of WLHIV and the quality and accessibility of existing services.  Program activities assessed in the baseline study include HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, and gender-based violence (GBV), legal aid and micro-credit programs. After completing the baseline assessment, we presented findings to governmental and non-governmental agencies in Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi for use in improving existing services for WLHIV and designing and implementing specific interventions to improve the quality of, and access to, services available to WLHIV. Subsequently, COHED and Life Center implemented interventions focused on building awareness of and capacity to address GBV among providers and WLHIV in Hai Phong and HCMC. In addition, COHED and Life Centre provided technical support to health and social providers and project outreach workers to conduct outreach and begin a referral network. The second round of data collection allowed for documentation of changes in service knowledge, use, quality, and access variables, and thus provided an opportunity to assess the impact of intervention


2.      Research on accessibility for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to existing microcredit sources in Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh Province in 2011-2012.


Currently people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Vietnam have received a lot of support in terms of health care and social support from Government, programs and projects. However, they still face many difficulties in life, especially the problems of employment, stable income, ensuring their household’s economic situation. Research and practice have shown that one of the biggest problems that people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and their families are facing in developing income-generating activities is the lack of financial capital.

In order to understand their needs and the accessibility of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to microcredit sources to implement and strengthen their economic development activities, as well as advantages, disadvantages and barriers that they face in accessing these sources, Center for Community Health and Development (COHED) conducted a study in 2011 in Hai Phong city and Cam Pha Town (Quang Ninh province).

This study was carried out using interdisciplinary method which is a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, including primary dataset with sample size of 808 respondents in Hai Phong City and Cam Pha Town (Quang Ninh Province) and secondary data from existing reports and studies. The initial results and findings of the field survey was critically reviewed by consultant and received feedback through a consultation workshop held Hai Phong City on 27/12/2011 and national consultation workshop held in Hanoi on 29/02/2012 with the participation of a large number of participants from various localities.The information, findings and recommendations of this study are expected to contribute to promoting the improvement of existing mechanisms, forming new policies/mechanism necessary to provide better condition for PLWAH to access more appropriate and available microcredit sources.

3.      Research on heat stress and the adaptive capacity of low income outdoor workers and their families in the city of Danang, Vietnam in 2012.

In August 2012, with the funding from International Institution for Environment and Development (IIED), Center of Health and Community Development, in collaboration with Danang Center of Preventive Health conducted an integrated methodological study on heat wave impact to outdoor workers and responses.

This study aims to:

1.      explore the impacts of heat stress, the coping mechanism and adaptive measures to respond to heat stress of poor unregistered migrants, and outdoor workers in the city of Da Nang.

2.      examine the knowledge, awareness and perceptions on heat wave risks, of the most vulnerable group.

3.      identify the influencing factors of the local people’s coping actions and perceptions.

4.      analyse key government policies and basic health services, that can be supportive of enhancing the adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable groups.

5.      provide recommendations to various stakeholders to enhance the adaptive capacity of the vulnerable people in the city.

To better protect health of vulnerable groups of workers in the context of heat working condition as the consequences of increasing global temprature at present and in the coming time, the research  recommends a set of actions that should be taken by different related stakeholders in Da nang city as well as in other urban areas with similarity.

4.      Climate Change and Health Workshop Conference in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2012

The Centre for Community Health and Development in conjunction with the Hanoi Medical University, HCMC Department of Natural resources and Environment, British Embassy and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies jointly hosted a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on “Climate Change Risks and Health Impacts:Science, Policies, Adaptation in the Urban Contexts of Vietnam” on November 13, 2012.

More than 90 participants attended event and six presentations were made to share experiences and research findings about the threats posed by flooding, health and climate change, heat stress and the Vietnamese health sector’s climate change response plan.

The workshop agreed that rising sea levels, global warming and extreme weather conditions had affected human health globally, with the poor being the most vulnerable group. In urban areas, the most common climate-change phenomena are an increase in temperatures and urban flooding.

The meeting heard that the Vietnamese government’s National Action Plan included a focus on the healthcare sector as well as an emphasis on raising public awareness about the effects of climate change. Issues such as heat waves, waterborne/vector born disease and nutrition were focused on as research topics.

Heat stress vulnerability was also discussed with its relationship to social dimensions such as economic status, occupations, gender and age groups. It was noted that heat stress vulnerability was also related to a lack of knowledge, risk perception and adaptation behaviour, understanding knowledge and enforcement barriers to response. Research from Guangdong, China was also presented at the workshop to share experiences on heat stress in China.

Flooding patterns until 2070 were also referenced, with nearly 10,000 hectares in HCMC likely to be flooded.

The Vietnam Red Cross revealed their dengue fever research and community-based resilience that emphasised the importance of working at a grassroots level in training community responses to dengue fever and coping mechanisms.

The afternoon section featured technical group discussions on health and climate change with the aim of identifying potential research topics on health and climate change in the future in a Vietnamese context. Three topics were raised as issues for government agencies, donors, research institutes and NGOs.

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