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About the project

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) pose a rapidly growing challenge for developing countries. Lifestyle, not least physical inactivity, is a main factor underlying this change. Structured physical activity (PA) programs can improve quality of life, reduce morbidity and mortality and ease the burden on individuals and families. In Sweden, physical activity on prescription based on the book “Physical Activity in the prevention and treatment of disease” has been used for almost a decade, which has provided extensive experience useful for other countries.

This project is a cooperation between Karolinska Institutet (KI), Professional Associations for PA in Sweden and Hanoi Medical University (HMU) in Vietnam. We also collaborate with the Ministry of Health and WHO office in Vietnam. The project aims to make existing scientific evidence on Physical activity (PA) interventions for non-communicable diseases available for practical use in the Vietnamese society and health care system. This is done by capacity-building and knowledge exchange in:

1. an education and training program for health care practitioners and

2. an evaluation process investigating the effects on practitioners’ learning and usage as well as patient adherence to structured PA interventions.

The project has been running since Jan 1st 2011 when Professor Carl Johan Sundberg, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, KI, received a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and it will be completed by the end of Dec 2013.

So far, 13 health care practitioners have taken part in “Training of trainers’ courses” (TOT-courses) in Sweden. These TOT course participants have after their education, participated in the training of other health care providers in Vietnam, in total 218 people.

The book “Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease” (PAPTD/FYSS) has been translated from English to Vietnamese and can now be ordered from Hanoi Medical University. Hopefully this book will be a useful tool when implementing physical activity on prescription in Vietnam.

The project has been mentioned in several articles in both Swedish and Vietnamese journals and magazines; it has also been shown in television as well as in promotion videos and displayed at conferences in Sweden, Vietnam and Australia (read more under clippings below).

Through the help of Danson Media, a campaign on PA for NCDs is being addressed to the public and policy makers in Vietnam, using for example; TV, video clips, brief news, special interest publications and weekly columns on PA in a scientific magazine. The campaign was executed during Sept/Oct 2012 and was intensified in the beginning of November, just before the International conference on Physical Activity on Prescription, which took place in Hanoi on Nov 6th, 2012. The target group for the conference was policy makers and the goal was to elevate PA on the political agenda and facilitate the approval of national PA guidelines/ recommendations. The conference at Hanoi Medical University hosted about 140 participants. Eight specialists from Vietnam and Sweden gave speeches on; National plan on the prevention and control of NCD’s in Vietnam, Recommendations and guidelines on PA, Practical implementation in health care settings, among other subjects.

During 2013 the effectiveness of the TOT courses and the training courses will be evaluated based on pre- and post-course questionnaires. The evaluation will be complemented by five projects carried out by medical- and master students from Sweden, during 2012. This project is building a foundation for promoting PA in Vietnam, which hopefully will help in the process of developing national guidelines/recommendation for both prevention and treatment of disease.