Vietnam has the first batch of bachelors in occupational therapy
August 6th - 36 students have received their bachelor degrees in Occupational Therapy (OT) from the Haiduong Medical Technical University and become the first Occupational Therapists in Vietnam.
Representatives of USAID, MCNV, HI, Hai Duong Medical Technical University and 36 graduated students of bachelors in occupational therapy.
This is the significant result of a 5 – year project (2016 – 2020) on Development of Occupational Therapy Education in Vietnam funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and the Medical Committee of Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV).
The project is piloted at Hai Duong Medical Technical University (HMTU) and the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University (UMP) aiming at addressing the big gap of occupational therapy human resource in Vietnam through creating conditions to establish education of OT professions in Vietnam, including provision of OT educators, and development of a standard competency-based curriculum that can be recognized in the region, as well as training materials and strengthened Government policy on OT.
It has received huge contributions from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam Rehabilitation Association (VINAREHA) and experts from large rehabilitation centers and hospitals. Furthermore, the project is implemented with technical support from Manipal Academy of Higher Education in India who has over 50-year experience in OT training and development.
Acting Director of Environment and Social Development Anthony Kolb presents bachelor degrees to graduated students.
Addressing at the event, Mr. Anthony Kolb, Acting Director of Environment and Social Development, USAID expressed his delight to witness the graduation of the first Occupational Therapists in Vietnam and said that the result has marked a milestone on the development of OT profession in Vietnam.
“Assisting persons with disabilities has long been one of the top priorities for the USAID in Vietnam. Since 1989, with the establishment of the Leahy War Victims Fund, USAID has worked to increase to a variety of programs benefiting people with disabilities in conflict – affected countries”, he said.
The U.S Government has contributed more than USD100 million toward improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, by addressing medical and social needs, improving disabilities policies and reducing physical and social barriers. Over 30.000 people with disabilities have received support from USAID. Beside the direct supports, USAID is working with other stakeholders to improve the quality of services for people with disabilities in Vietnam.
In the world, the OT profession has been evolved over the last 100 years to become an essential part of comprehensive rehabilitation services. Being aware of its crucial role, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health vision 2030 strategy recognizes OT as one of the required, specialized fields in rehabilitation. As such, the Ministry has made it obligatory to establish OT Department in Rehabilitation Hospitals and teams of OT in Rehabilitation Department of Provincial General Hospitals.
However, before the aforementioned course was established, OT educational programs in Vietnam did not exist. Therefore, to help address this need, USAID provided a five-year grant (2016-2020) to HI and MCNV to support development of the OT professions in Vietnam.
Dr. Le Tuan Dong, Head of the Rehabilitation and Medical Examination Bureau, sent his sincere thanks to international organizations such as USAID, HI and MCNV for assisting the Vietnam healthcare system through providing educational program on OT at bachelor level as well as the development of this new profession.
Nguyen Phu Sy, one of the new graduates speaks at the ceremony.