Small-scale integrated (SSI) farming is a common agricultural model in Vietnam. However, SSI farmers use contaminated water, have no access to hygienic latrines, and have very limited awareness about water quality or environmental sanitation. There are potential interactions in the context of this model that may result in transmission of water-related zoonotic diseases (WRZD). The government of Vietnam plans to restructure the agriculture system by 2020. Study of the model in the context of water and public health can contribute to shaping the future of Vietnam’s agriculture system. I used a cross-sectional study to develop a socioeconomic profile of SSI farmers, examine their perceptions of risk factors for transmitting WRZD, assess basic microbial and related quality of water used on their farms, and explore factors that are associated with on-farm water quality as well as SSI farmers’ engagement in strategies to reduce transmission of WRZD. Data were collected from 600 SSI farms in two provinces in North and South Vietnam. The typical profile of the participating SSI farmers was a 45 year old married individual with two children, seven years of formal education, low income (c. $1200 p.a.), and nine years farming experience. Most SSI farmers had basic awareness of avian influenza prevention, but very limited awareness of WRZDs such as Escherichia coli (E. coli). Water on the majority of SSI farms had unacceptable levels of E. coli and was significantly associated with SSI farmers’ characteristics and perceptions (e.g., years of farming, number of poultry on a farm, and perceived self-efficacy in managing livestock). SSI farmers’ characteristics and perceptions (e.g., education, income, and perceived self-efficacy in managing livestock) influenced their engagement in strategies to reduce transmission of WRZD. Future research and policies in Vietnamese agriculture need to consider a transdisciplinary approach (e.g., EcoHealth) to increase SSI farmers’ awareness of water public health and their engagement in mitigating strategies for WRZD transmission. Consideration for the health of farmers, animals, and the environment should be interwoven with livestock production and be an equally important part of a holistic integrated SSI farming model.
|Department||Veterinary Medical Sciences|
|Degree||Doctor of Philosophy|
|University||University of Calgary|