COHED’s Research and Advocacy work

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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


Highlights of COHED’s advocacy approach in action.

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

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

Researchs for

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


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.

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

This study aims to:

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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