South-east Asian Research Collaboration in Hepatitis (SEARCH)
Prof Graham Cooke
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
An estimated 1.07 million people in Vietnam are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). In the 'VIETNARMS' trial, we are investigating the efficacy of HCV treatment strategies that could be used to treat underserved populations (e.g. ultrashort or intermittent therapy). Should these strategies have efficacy as hoped, it will be crucial to develop innovative ways to engage with underserved populations. We propose a 'bottom up' approach using community based participatory research (CBPR) to explore barriers to HCV care and to determine what actions must be taken to improve engagement with these populations at risk for HCV. In this project, we will first conduct stakeholder mapping of organizations working with populations at risk for HCV and create two advisory groups, one at the NGO level and the second at the community level. Next, we will conduct CBPR with 3-5 communities in Ho Chi Minh City over the course of one year. Using CBPR methods, we will work with communities to identify barriers, facilitators, and health priorities related to HCV, as well as design and implement strategies to overcome the problems identified in each group. We will hold dissemination meetings in the communities where CBPR took place, with the local advisory groups, and with regional stakeholders to determine how to integrate dialogues from underserved communities at risk for HCV into larger policy conversations centering on HCV care and treatment. The questions raised and strategies implemented in the communities could also inform future operational research questions within our context.