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Commune Health Workers' Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) Knowledge and Perceived Difficulties Providing Decentralized MMT Services in Vietnam.

  • Author(s): Lin, Chunqing
  • Tuan, Nguyen Anh
  • Li, Li
  • et al.


With the initial establishment of countrywide methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) system, Vietnam is in the process of expanding and decentralizing the MMT program to community-based healthcare settings.


The study aimed to measure the MMT-related knowledge and perceived difficulties in treating patient who use drugs (PWUD) among community-based healthcare providers, e.g., commune health workers (CHW), and examine its correlated factors.


A total of 300 CHW from 60 communes in two provinces of Vietnam completed a survey using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) method. Twelve true-or-false questions were used to assess the CHW's MMT-related knowledge. The CHW's background characteristics and perceived difficulties treating PWUD were recorded.


The mean MMT knowledge score was 8.2 (SD = 1.2; range: 5-11). Misconceptions toward the benefits, procedure, and side effects of MMT were prevalent. The participants perceived varying degrees of difficulties in recruiting, engaging, and communicating with PWUD. With all covariates holding constant, younger age (standardized ẞ = -0.166; p = 0.0078) was associated with less MMT-related knowledge. Number of PWUD seen in a month and MMT-related knowledge was associated with less perceived difficulties treating PWUD. Conclusions/importance: The finding shed lights on the CHW's knowledge gap, which need to be addressed to facilitate the decentralization of MMT services in Vietnam. In preparation for a decentralized MMT service delivery model, specially designed training is warranted to equip CHW with knowledge and confidence to provide MMT-related services to PWUD.

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