Strengthening Rehabilitation Services for Persons with Disabilities in Vietnam

The course started the first enrollment in 2019 with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the DISTINCT project, implemented by VietHealth and Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam.

20 students of Vietnam's first ever Bachelor’s of Rehabilitation with specialization in Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) program have been graduated at the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy.

The graduates will help fill gaps of service availability and provide increased opportunities for persons with disabilities across Vietnam.

20 students of Vietnam's first ever Bachelor’s of Rehabilitation with specialization in Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) program on their graduation at the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy.

After five years of implementation, the Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Education Development in Vietnam project was concluded with all goals achieved, including the graduation of Vietnam’s first ever 14 Master and 20 Bachelor degree holders of SALT (MSALT and BSALT).

Following the first ever Master of SALT, the first Bachelor of SALT, graduating from Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, was another significant outcome generated by SALT Education project – a component of DISTICNT project by VietHealth, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in a five-year period, from October 2017 to September 2022.

The program curriculum and teaching materials were developed based on international standards in cooperation with Trinh Foundation, and the lecturers coming from Vietnam, and 27 professors/Doctors from the US, the UK, Australia, and Singapore.

The project was implemented by MCNV with technical support from Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA), aiming to lay a solid foundation for the development of an official education system for the SALT profession in Vietnam.

Ritu Tariyal, director of the Reconciliation and Inclusive Development Office, USAID speaks at the event.

The project was concluded with a closing meeting held on September 27 to review the implementation of the project as well as draw lessons learned.

Over the past five years, SALT project has successfully achieved its key goals, with the completion of Vietnam’s first Masters and Bachelors of SALT, conducted in coordination with HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP HCM City) and Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy (DUMPT) respectively.

The two MSALT and BSALT courses cover all the SALT scopes following international education in SALT, including assessment, diagnosis, habilitation, rehabilitation, counseling, and prevention services for individuals from birth through old age who have some type of speech, voice, language, fluency, cognitive-communicative, or swallowing problems due to delayed development or as a result of an injury, cancer, stroke or progressive neurological disease.

The MSALT was for two years and the BSALT was for four years. Due to the shortage of qualified Vietnamese SALT trainers, most of the trainers are from Australia, the UK, the US, and New Zealand.

With the completion of the MSALT and BSALT courses, the project has supported four Medical Universities which are UMP HCM City, DUMPT, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Hai Duong Medical Technical University on capacity building for SALT trainers and BSALT, MSALT curriculum development.

As a part of the project, a network of national and international SALT academics, practitioners and clinical sites were established to support the development of SALT in Vietnam in terms of education and services.

Concurrently, the awareness of SALT among rehabilitation professionals and the public has been vastly improved, thanks to the frequent maintenance and updates of a SALT website and a Facebook page.

Earlier, a thematic workshop on SALT - one of the three events marking the completion of the project Development of SALT Education in Vietnam was held, bringing together nearly 80 participants, including representatives of USAID, Trinh Foundation Australia, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The workshop also provided the first Masters and Bachelors of SALT of Vietnam a platform to share about their challenging yet exciting and meaning journey with SALT – a newly emerging field in rehabilitation in Vietnam.

(vietnamtimes.org.vn)