Culturally adapted training for community volunteers to improve their knowledge, attitude and practice regarding non-communicable diseases in Vietnam

Zinzi E Pardoel*, Sijmen A Reijneveld, Robert Lensink, Maarten J Postma, Nong Thi Thu Trang, Poppy Walton, Khin Hnin Swe, Eti Poncorini Pamungkasari, Jaap A R Koot, Jeanet A Landsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: The burden of non-communicable diseases is becoming unmanageable by primary healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries. Community-based approaches are promising for supporting healthcare facilities. In Vietnam, community health volunteers are trained in providing health promotion and screening in a culturally adapted training. This study aims to assess the change in knowledge, attitude and practice regarding NCD prevention and management after a culturally adapted training, and the potential mechanisms leading to this change.

METHODS: The Knowledge Attitude and Practice survey was assessed before and after an initial training, and before and after a refresher training (n = 37). We used a focus group discussion with community health volunteers (n = 8) to map potential mechanisms of the training and applying learned knowledge in practice. Data were collected in the districts Le Chan and An Duong of Hai Phong, Vietnam, in November 2021 and May 2022.

RESULTS: We found that knowledge increased after training (mean = 5.54, 95%-confidence interval = 4.35 to 6.74), whereas attitude and practice did not improve. Next, knowledge decreased over time (m=-12.27;-14.40 to -10.11) and did not fully recover after a refresher training (m=-1.78;-3.22 to -0.35). As potential mechanisms for change, we identified the use of varying learning methods, enough breaks, efficient coordination of time located for theory and practice, handout materials, large group size and difficulty in applying a digital application for screening results.

CONCLUSION: Culturally adapted trainings can improve knowledge among community health volunteers which is important for the support of primary healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. Using a digital screening application can be a barrier for the improvement of knowledge, attitude and practice and we suggest using an intergenerational or age-friendly approach, with the supervision of primary healthcare professionals. Future research on behavioral change should include additional components such as self-efficacy and interrelationships between individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number364
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 3-Feb-2024


  • Community volunteer training
  • Community-based approaches
  • Community-health volunteers
  • Culturally adapted training
  • KAP-survey
  • Non-communicable diseases

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