Background: Effective strategies are needed to increase implementation and sustainability of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) in public health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (VQuit) found that a multicomponent implementation strategy was effective in increasing provider adherence to TDT guidelines in commune health center (CHCs) in Vietnam. In this paper, we present findings from a post-implementation qualitative assessment of factors influencing effective implementation and program sustainability. Methods: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 52) with 13 CHC medical directors (i.e., physicians), 25 CHC health care providers (e.g., nurses), and 14 village health workers (VHWs) in 13 study sites. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research) and inductive approaches to analysis. Results: Facilitators of effective implementing of TDT included training and point-of-service tools (e.g., desktop chart with prompts for offering brief counseling) that increased knowledge and self-efficacy, patient demand for TDT, and a referral system, available in arm 2, which reduced the provider burden by shifting more intensive cessation counseling to a trained VHW. The primary challenges to sustainability were competing priorities that are driven by the Ministry of Health and may result in fewer resources for TDT compared with other health programs. However, providers and VHWs suggested several options for adapting the intervention and implementation strategies to address challenges and increasing engagement of local government committees and other sectors to sustain gains. Conclusion: Our findings offer insights into how a multicomponent implementation strategy influenced changes in the delivery of evidence-based TDT. In addition, the results illustrate the dynamic interplay between barriers and facilitators for sustaining TDT at the policy and community/practice level, particularly in the context of centralized public health systems like Vietnam’s. Sustaining gains in practice improvement and clinical outcomes will require strategies that include ongoing engagement with policymakers and other stakeholders at the national and local level, and planning for adaptations and subsequent resource allocations in order to meet the World Health Organization’s goals promoting access to effective treatment for all tobacco users.
- Tobacco cessation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health