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Implement Sci. 2011 Mar 29;6:29. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-6-29.

Newborn care and knowledge translation - perceptions among primary healthcare staff in northern Vietnam.

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  • 1International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.



Nearly four million neonatal deaths occur annually in the world despite existing evidence-based knowledge with the potential to prevent many of these deaths. Effective knowledge translation (KT) could help to bridge this know-do gap in global health. The aim of this study was to explore aspects of KT at the primary healthcare level in a northern province in Vietnam.


Six focus-group discussions were conducted with primary healthcare staff members who provided neonatal care in districts that represented three types of geographical areas existing in the province (urban, rural, and mountainous). Recordings were transcribed verbatim, translated into English, and analyzed using content analysis.


We identified three main categories of importance for KT. Healthcare staff used several channels for acquisition and management of knowledge (1), but none appeared to work well. Participants preferred formal training to reading guideline documents, and they expressed interest in interacting with colleagues at higher levels, which rarely happened. In some geographical areas, traditional medicine (2) seemed to compete with evidence-based practices, whereas in other areas it was a complement. Lack of resources, low frequency of deliveries and, poorly paid staff were observed barriers to keeping skills at an adequate level in the healthcare context (3).


This study indicates that primary healthcare staff work in a context that to some extent enables them to translate knowledge into practice. However, the established and structured healthcare system in Vietnam does constitute a base where such processes could be expected to work more effectively. To accelerate the development, thorough considerations over the current situation and carefully targeted actions are required.

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