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Community Participatory Interventions to Improve Farmer Knowledge and Practices of Household Biogas Unit Operation in Ha Nam Province, Vietnam

Luu, Quoc Toan MPH; Nguyen, Mai Huong BPH; Nguyen-Viet, Hung PhD; Pham, Giang MSc; Dinh-Xuan, Tung PhD; MacDonald, Lauren E. MSc; Pham-Duc, Phuc MD, PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: March/April 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue - p S28–S35
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000727
Research Full Reports

Context: The use of biogas systems to treat livestock waste is a common practice in Vietnam. However, farmers' knowledge and practices of the safe and appropriate use of household biogas units (HBUs) are still limited and could negatively impact human, animal, and environmental health.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of an intervention to improve knowledge and practices of biogas operation among farmers in 2 communes of Ha Nam Province, Vietnam.

Design: A community-based intervention approach.

Setting: This study was conducted from 2015 to 2016 in 2 communes of Ha Nam Province, Vietnam.

Participants: Only farmers with HBUs (N = 399) participated in this research. Farmers were assigned to either an intervention group or a control group at a ratio of 1:2.

Intervention: Two intervention steps were implemented over a 6-month period as follows: (i) the core farmer group trained in 6 steps of HBU safe handling practice; and (ii) the core farmer group conducted peer-to-peer communication with its neighbors in the commune using the provided material.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Farmers' knowledge and practices in biogas operation were assessed by a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered before (baseline) and after the intervention (follow-up) to both the control and intervention groups.

Results: There was a significant difference in the knowledge and practices of biogas operation between the 2 groups, in which farmers in the intervention group demonstrated better understanding of the related topic than the control group (P < .05, t test). A linear regression model indicated that baseline and follow-up scores in both knowledge and practices of the intervention group were higher than those of the control group. After the intervention, the mean difference score in knowledge and practices between the intervention and control groups was 5.0 and 2.0 points, respectively (P < .01).

Conclusion: A community-based intervention approach could be applied to improve knowledge and practices among farmers in using biogas systems. However, further studies should be conducted to assess the sustainability and effectiveness of this model.

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Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research, Hanoi University of Public Health, North Tu Liem District, Hanoi, Vietnam (Mr Luu, Mss Nguyen, Pham, and MacDonald, and Drs Nguyen-Viet and Pham-Duc); National Institute for Animal Science, Thuy Phuong, North Tu Liem District, Hanoi, Vietnam (Dr Dinh-Xuan); and International Livestock Research Institute, Vietnam, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam (Dr Nguyen-Viet).

Correspondence: Quoc Toan Luu, MPH, Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research, Hanoi University of Public Health, No. 1A Duc Thang, North Tu Liem District, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam (

The authors thank the People Committee and farmers of Hoang Tay commune, Kim Bang District, Ha Nam Province, who supported this study. The authors also thank their FBLI research team and the volunteers for their support. Tran Thi Tuyet Hanh, Julie Hood, and Janna Schurer helped edit English of this article. The International Research Development Center, Canada, funded this research. Hung Nguyen-Viet was partly funded by the CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). Support for Ms. MacDonald was provided by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and the Veterinarians Without Borders Volunteer Cooperation Program.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

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