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Hue is a historic imperial city in central Vietnam on the banks of the Perfume River with a population of about 360,000. Hue city is a main centre of commerce, health care, and education services in central Vietnam, and has an important tourism industry. Vietnam is a communist country and especially around Hue, the culture is influenced by Buddhism. Poverty rates in Hue vary substantially between the 27 wards, with official estimates of poverty (classification of households as poor or near-poor) ranging from 1.5% and 17.5%. Harsh physical punishment of children and bullying in schools is common in Vietnam. Consistent with other Asian studies, sexual abuse is reported relatively less often than in other parts of the world. Exposure of children to domestic violence is frequently found in community surveys in Vietnam; one recent study estimated that one in twenty pregnant women have reported experiencing violence during pregnancy. There are few specialised services for victims of violence and limited violence prevention programs in Hue, due, in part, to the lack of reliable data and evidence and its consequences for child health and development.

The government of Vietnam has expressed its commitment to tackling all forms of violence against children, mainly through the adoption of the amended Law on Child Protection, Care, and Education whereby it has established a strong network of social workers across the country for building a strong legal barrier to protect children victims of violence. The government seeks to continue its efforts and further strengthen the child protection and social welfare system through adequate international collaborations, and, crucially, through evidence-based policy and decision-making. The research team at the Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy is led by Professor Vo Van Thang and Professor Michael Dunne, codirectors of the Institute for Community Health Research (ICHR). The ICHR is a collaborative research institute with key partners at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Health Departments in seven Central and Highland areas of Vietnam, and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. Professors Vo, Dunne and colleagues have recently completed several epidemiological studies with new mothers in Hue City and surrounding areas that focused on mental health and family adversity.


Image source: Prof. Manuel Eisner