Effectiveness of village health worker delivered smoking cessation counseling in Viet Nam

INTRODUCTION: Smoking prevalence is high in Viet Nam, yet tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) is not widely available.

METHODS: We conducted a quasi-experimental study that compared the effectiveness of health care provider advice and assistance (ARM 1) vs. ARM 1 plus village health worker (VHW) counseling (ARM 2) on abstinence at 6-month follow-up. This study was embedded in a larger two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Viet Nam. Subjects (N=1,318) were adult patients who visited any participating CHC during the parent RCT intervention period and were self-identified as current tobacco users (cigarettes and/or waterpipe).

RESULTS: At 6-month follow-up, abstinences rates in ARM 2 were significantly higher than ARM 1 (25.7% vs. 10.5%; p<.001). In multivariate analyses smokers in ARM 2 were almost three times more likely to quit compared with those in ARM 1 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.78-4.92). Compared to cigarette-only smokers, waterpipe-only smokers (AOR=0.4, 95% CI=0.26-0.62) and dual users (AOR=0.62, 95% CI=0.45-0.86) were less likely to achieve abstinence, however the addition of VHW counseling (ARM 2) was associated with higher quit rates compared with ARM 1 alone for all smoker types.

CONCLUSION: A team approach in TDT programs that offers a referral system for health care providers to refer smokers to VHW-led cessation counseling is a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based TDT and increasing quit rates in LMICs. TDT programs may need to adapt interventions to improve outcomes for waterpipe users.

Full citation:
Jiang N, Siman N, Cleland CM, VanDevanter N, Nguyen T, Nguyen N, Shelley D (2018).
Effectiveness of village health worker delivered smoking cessation counseling in Viet Nam
Nicotine and Tobacco Research [Epub 2018 Oct 17]. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty216.