Leeds, Hanoi, Accra, Melbourne and London researchers collaborate on maternal and mental health services research in Vietnam

As part of RESPONSE, a major international research project examining health systems responsiveness, SSP’s Dr Ana Manzano has co-authored a paper on maternal and mental health care in Vietnam.

Understanding the barriers to integrating maternal and mental health at primary health care in Vietnam’ is published open access in Health Policy and Planning, a research journal publishing health policy and systems research focusing on low- and middle-income countries. 

The paper employs realist evaluation methodology to explore the integration of maternal and mental health services at the primary healthcare level and the implications for the health system’s responsiveness to the needs and expectations of pregnant women with mental health conditions in Vietnam. The paper presents phase one findings of the three-phase RESPONSE study, reporting on literature review, focus groups and interviews with key health system actors, including pregnant women in Bac Giang province, Vietnam. 

13 members of the RESPONSE project team are seated around a boardroom/conference table, some with laptops out, some in deep discussion.

RESPONSE project team members at work in Hanoi University of Public Health, 2023

Dr Manzano is the realist evaluation expert methodologist in the RESPONSE study and worked with eleven co-authors on the article: Hanoi University of Public Health researchers Do Thi Hanh Trang, Bui Thi Thu Ha, Le Thi Vui, Nguyen Thai Quynh Chi, Le Minh Thi, Doan Thi Thuy Duong, and Dang The Hung; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine researchers Anna Cronin de Chavez and Tolib Mirzoev; and University of Melbourne researchers Kimberly Lakin and Sumit Kane.

Dr Manzano explained that,

Collaborating as a methodologist within a large international interdisciplinary team is not just about pooling expertise; it's about building synergy that can empower researchers to navigate complex challenges, ensuring our impact transcends disciplinary and national boundaries

The RESPONSE project is a three-phase 42-month study -funded by a collaboration between the British Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and UKRI, led by Prof Tolib Mirzoev (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) as principal investigator. This international interdisciplinary mixed-methods study uses realist evaluation as an overarching methodological framework. It brings together researchers from Hanoi University of Public Health, Ghana Health Service, Mental Health Authority Ghana, University of Ghana, University of Melbourne, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Leeds.

The project aims to contribute to improved health systems responsiveness to neglected health needs of vulnerable groups in Ghana and Vietnam. This large-scale international research project is an example of the importance of the social sciences in complex health policy areas; and of how the School of Sociology and Social Policy values partnerships that take research beyond the University to improve the lives of vulnerable groups worldwide.

Learn more at the RESPONSE project website.

Dr Ana Manzano is an Associate Professor in Public Policy in the School of Sociology and Social Policy who brings methodological expertise to the research and evaluation of complex public policy issues. Alongside her current work on the RESPONSE project, Dr Manzano is currently on a UKRI Evaluating Innovation Policy Research Fellowship at the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland Executive).