USAID Disability Rights Enforcement, Coordination and Therapies (DIRECT)


Disability Rights Enforcement, Coordination and Therapies (DIRECT) The project is funded by USAID and implemented by VNAH in collaboration with Vietnamese partners including the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and governments of Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc provinces.

The project has a goal to expand opportunities for persons with disabilities through higher quality and sustainable services, awareness, and advocacy strengthening. Specifically, the project aims at, 1): Enhanced resources for disability programs and services; and 2): Enhanced access to quality rehabilitation services. These are being achieved through supports to Government of Vietnam National Committee on Disabilities (NCD) to improve coordination and enforcement of disability policies; and expansion of health insurance coverage for rehabilitation services. Secondly, DIRECT supports the development of rehabilitation services – include improving human resources and treatment facilities - and delivery of direct assistance for persons with disabilities, especially those with severe and developmental disabilities in Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces.

The project started in November 2015 and will end in September 2020. By end of March 2017, after 16 months of implementation, the project has achieved several major results, as following:

To date, 1,300 persons with disabilities have received direct assistance, including rehabilitation therapy services, assistive devices and home improvement etc., About 20% of our beneficiaries are victims of, or those exposed to Agent Orange. Persons with disabilities having exposed to Agent Orange is one of the project priority beneficiary groups. The project also prioritized women and girls with severe disabilities. So far, 37% of the project beneficiaries are female. Prior to therapy/support, the project engaged Vietnamese and international rehabilitation specialists to conduct clinical assessment to identify the beneficiary’s needs in rehabilitation, assistive devices and other supports. After the assessment, a plan for intervention/treatment was developed and services/supports are followed up for each individual person.

1,350 Service Providers has been trained by the project to date. Capacity building training for local service provider is one of the key objectives of the project. Training so far focused on rehabilitation therapies, disability assessment skills and disability information system (DIS). Of these,

Participants are social and health workers from local systems. Of these, over 35 doctors and 65 health professionals are being trained in short course programs (10 months) to become rehabilitation practitioners. These trainings are delivered by the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy and the Curtin University (Australia). VNAH also collaborated with the Butterfly Basket Foundation (Netherland), CESO (Canada) and other volunteer health professional in training and services in rehabilitation to people with disabilities in Tay NInh and Binh Phuoc provinces.

22 rehabilitation units have been set up and equipped. The project assisted in the set up and provision of rehabilitation equipment for 22 rehabilitation units at hospitals in Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh. These rehabilitation units and the rehabilitation practitioners trained by DIRECT will help improve availability and access to quality services for people with disabilities.

7 new disability-related policy developed, with support from DIRECT. These included national and provincial disability policy and action plans. The highlights among these are the CRPD plan of action approved by the Prime Minister, and Ministry of Health Circular 18, which helps increase insurance coverage for rehabilitation from 33 to 248 new techniques/services or 7,5 times.