Eliminate Dengue Vietnam gains support through ongoing engagement with schools

In April 2016, the Eliminate Dengue Project in Vietnam (EDPV) began a cohort study in Nha Trang city. The study involved four schools (two primary, two secondary) in both rural and urban wards of the city.

The research aimed to assess the feasibility of using a cohort study design to measure the impact of Wolbachia on disease transmission for school children aged 5-14 years. The study also wanted to identify the most effective methods to find out when children had displayed signs of fever.

More than 98% of invited families agreed to their children participating in the study. Students and their parents were asked to report any cases of febrile illness (fever) and sign up for health checks at one of two government clinics. The EDPV team visited schools to provide information to students and their parents about the importance of visiting the health clinics, as such illnesses are often treated at home.

Schools outreach involved a mix of fun and educational activities for the students. Some activities (including ways to reduce risk of dengue) were led by the students themselves. The EDPV community engagement team had the opportunity to work closely with primary and secondary school teachers and learn about different teaching methods.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoa, a grade 8 teacher at Lam Son School noted the positive relationship formed between members of EDPV and her students. “My students are excited to meet with the EDPV staff. They know them like a friend.”

As part of these school activities, EDPV has been providing information and updates to the Nha Trang City People’s Committee, the Division of Education and Training in Nha Trang, as well as local school teachers. Feedback from these groups has helped improve the quality and effectiveness of the team’s engagement with students and their parents.