141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

An observational report on a vietnamese community based rehabilitation project for individuals with disabilities from june 5 to june 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Carole Baraldi, Ed.D, RN , None, New York, NY
Susan Schnall, RN, FACHE
Background: For ten years during the Vietnam War, 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, mainly Agent Orange were sprayed to exfoliate vegetation to enhance military surveillance. Unfortunately, the toxic chemical dioxin destroyed the ecological environment impacting the Vietnamese directly exposed and their offspring resulting in various disabilities. The Hanoi School of Public Health has developed a pilot program to assist those individuals and their families through community based rehabilitation to improve quality of life.

Methods: This pilot project commenced in 2008 and recruited individuals with disabilities in three provinces throughout Vietnam that were heavily sprayed during the war. The Hanoi School of Public Health collaborated with the Rehabilitation Association of Vietnam to disseminate technical knowledge to the community, provide individualized home rehabilitation including assistive devices, and referrals for surgical interventions.

Results: In the first three years of program implementation, 650 staff and collaborators were trained in rehabilitation therapy. Over 7000 people with disabilities were identified and screened at central hospitals and referrals for follow-up were determined based on individual need. Over 950 were evaluated for assistive devices that included customized wheelchairs and hearing aids, and several hundred were referred for surgical interventions.

Conclusions: This model has been widely received with support from local governments and physical therapy activities are now regularly organized and attended. These individuals and their families have been educated on techniques to increase mobility, minimizing further morbidity, and enhancing societal integration. Plans are underway for replicating this model to others disabled as a consequence of the war.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the Vietnamese community based rehabilitation project and its impact on the individual, family, and community.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a professional registered nurse for over 30 years working in public health and as an adult nurse practitioner. I am a disability rights advocate promoting equitable access to preventive health care and served on the board for the Center for the Disabled in New York for ten years. I have executed several grants on education to individuals with disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.