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Human papillomavirus vaccine introduction in Vietnam: formative research findings

Nguyen Quy Nghi A , D. Scott LaMontagne B F , Allison Bingham B , Mirriam Rafiq C , Le Thi Phuong Mai D , Nguyen Thi Phuong Lien D , Nguyen Cong Khanh D , Duong Thi Hong D , Dang Thi Thanh Huyen E , Nguyen Thi Thi Tho D and Nguyen Tran Hien D E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A PATH, Unit 01-02, Floor 2, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

B PATH, P.O. Box 900922, 2201 Westlake Ave N, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

C University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Center for Global Public Health, 737 University Hall #7360, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA.

D National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 1 Yersin Street, Hanoi, Vietnam.

E National Expanded Program on Immunization, National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 1 Yersin Street, Hanoi, Vietnam.

F Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 7(3) 262-270
Submitted: 20 November 2009  Accepted: 12 March 2010   Published: 19 August 2010


Background: Formative research is a useful tool for designing new health interventions. This paper presents key findings from formative research conducted in Vietnam to guide human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine introduction. Methods: We explored the sociocultural environment, health system capacity and the policy-making process using a combined quantitative and qualitative methodology. Data collection was done through literature review, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, observation checklists and a structured questionnaire on knowledge, attitudes and practices. Populations of interest included 11- to 14-year-old girls, their parents, community leaders, teachers, health workers, health and education officials, and policy-makers at all levels. Results:Although HPV vaccines are new, we found high potential acceptance among parents and girls. HPV vaccine introduction was also favourably supported by health professionals if assurances for system preparedness, e.g. cold chain and human resources, were made. There were no significant barriers from the policy perspective that would prevent the introduction of a new vaccine. However, several concerns related to this new vaccine would need to be adequately addressed before implementation. Conclusion: Our findings provide options for potential vaccine delivery strategies, appropriate communication strategies and targeted advocacy strategies to introduce HPV vaccines in the Vietnamese context.

Additional keywords: health system, policy.


The authors thank the following individuals for their contribution to this study: Phan Dang Than, Luu Phuong Dung, Nguyen Cong Luat, Le Thi Nga, Michelle Gardner, Vu Minh Huong, Trinh Thu Huong, Amynah Janmohamed, Carol Levin, Vivien Tsu, Scott Wittet and Pham Huy Tuan Kiet. We also express our gratitude to the government of Vietnam; the head of the National Expanded Program on Immunization; regional health officials; the leaders of the Provincial Health Services and Preventive Medicine Centers in Thai Binh, Nghe An, Dong Thap, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; the leaders of the District Preventive Medicine Centres in Hung Ha, Tien Hai (Thai Binh), Hung Nguyen, Anh Son (Nghe An), Thanh Binh, Thap Muoi (Dong Thap), Cu Chi (Ho Chi Minh City) and Tu Liem (Hanoi); and local leaders and officials, including the district and commune People’s Committees, heads of commune health stations and immunisation staff, leaders of the education service, school health staff and teachers, and members of the Women’s Unions. Generous funding for this work was provided through a grant to PATH from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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A AWe also gathered quantitative knowledge, attitudes and practices data through a KAP survey in the sociocultural research. However, this paper focuses on the qualitative research findings. Other results will be presented in a separate publication (currently in preparation).

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