Mr. Dinh has transformed his community; a quarter of a million kids will tell you so.

For years, Dinh Ngoc Quy watched the damning statistics roll in. Repeatedly, Thanh Hoa Province in Vietnam recorded the highest number of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection among children. STH, or intestinal worms, is a debilitating infection that often causes children to miss weeks or months of school, limiting their access to opportunities for a better life.

As Deputy Director of the Thanh Hoa Preventive Medical Center, Mr. Dinh felt deeply responsible for the health of his community, and his team ran a rigorous, annual deworming program for students. Despite hard-fought efforts, re-infections happened regularly, resulting in even more children to treat. Mr. Dinh was only driven to fight harder…or perhaps, smarter.

Mr. Dinh knew that for lasting change to happen, the medical center needed to alter its strategy. In early 2013, he approached the Vietnam Health Environment Management Agency (VIHEMA). Through VIHEMA, he began a partnership with East Meets West/Thrive Networks – supported by Dubai Cares – to help boost his province’s child deworming program.

Key provincial health staff attended deworming treatment and prevention lectures, while local health workers distributed information leaflets in the communities. Health centers began broadcasting tips on how hand washing and other healthy hygiene habits can prevent STH re-infection.

280,000 school kids no longer miss classes, no longer suffer from illness, and enjoy healthy appetites for better nutrition and cognitive function.

More than 98% of Thanh Hoa school children participated in Dinh’s collaborative treatment program. The success of this partnership motivated Mr. Quy to address other local health concerns with the goal to turn Thanh Hoa into a model community with clean schools, healthy children and happy families.

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