From refrigerators that help keep drugs and vaccines at the right temperature to products that ensure people have access to clean water, technologies play an important part in ensuring the health of people around the world.
PATH has long history in Vietnam of working on health technologies. We have worked with a variety of partners to ensure appropriate and affordable health technologies are utilized to improve the population’s health. Today, we continue to work with the Ministry of Health, the private sector, and other stakeholders to test new technologies and make the most of technologies proven to improve health.
Using technology to improve immunization
The Optimize project, a PATH and World Health Organization collaboration, is helping build the capacity of Vietnam’s immunization system by assessing current capacity and testing ways to close the gaps. We are testing several new technologies that can help strengthen the cold chain, like new refrigeration options. We are currently testing a new generation solar refrigerator that stores extra energy in the form of ice instead of using batteries in two provinces. If successful, these devices have the potential to reduce reliance on and cost of electricity for vaccine storage.
Learn more about our technology support to the national immunization system.
In many hard-to-reach locations it is difficult for health facilities to effectively manage the vaccine cold chain—the system for ensuring proper temperature controls for vaccines. In some regions in Vietnam commune-level facilities lack refrigeration or sufficient budgets to continuously operate refrigerators. As a result, vaccines are not delivered to these centers and community members must travel to higher level facilities that are often far from their home. The hepatitis B vaccine birth dose needs to be given within 24 hours of birth to ensure newborns are protected from mother-to-child transmission of the virus. PATH and the National Expanded Program on Immunization tested a strategy for effective delivery of the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine, which is stable at room temperature in tropical areas. Using single-dose vials of the vaccine that included vaccine vial monitors (indicators that change color when the vial is exposed to heat over time) we were able to maintain appropriate supplies of the vaccine out of the cold chain in commune-level facilities based on their projected birth rates.
Learn more about our work to improve delivery of hepatitis B.
Saving women and children with proven tools
More than a million children worldwide die from diarrheal disease, yet there are effective tools available to prevent and treat this life-threatening disease. One of the primary causes of diarrheal disease is unsafe water. In Vietnam, only 13% of people have access to clean water in some remote and mountainous provinces. Although the majority of people report they boil their water, 60% of stored drinking water that had been boiled was contaminated with fecal bacteria. To improve access to clean water, PATH worked with provincial health departments and private-sector partners to increase access to affordable household water treatment products. In a pilot in two provinces in southern Vietnam, we increased access to Aquatabs, a low-cost chlorine-based water treatment tablet, for families with children under five. The project also delivered safe water messages, including information on how to safely treat and store water, and provided storage containers for participants from several communes.
Learn more about our work to improve access to safe water.
Excessive bleeding after childbirth is the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths worldwide. Using drugs such as oxytocin during the third stage of labor can reduce these deaths. However, 40 percent of midwives in Vietnam find it difficult to fill the syringe with oxytocin. PATH and Ministry of Health worked together to evaluate the use of oxytocin in the Uniject device, a prefilled injection device developed by PATH. Using the Uniject device was easier for midwives and it was cheaper than using a syringe and oxytocin in vials.
Learn more about our project to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.