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Protocol for an economic evaluation alongside a cluster randomised controlled trial: cost-effectiveness of Learning Clubs, a multicomponent intervention to improve women’s health and infant’s health and development in Vietnam
  1. Trang Nguyen1,2,
  2. Kim Sweeny3,
  3. Thach Tran1,
  4. Stanley Luchters4,5,
  5. David B Hipgrave6,
  6. Sarah Hanieh7,
  7. Tuan Tran2,
  8. Ha Tran2,
  9. Beverley-Ann Biggs8,
  10. Jane Fisher1
  1. 1 Global and Women's Health, School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Research and Training Centre for Community Development, Hanoi, Viet Nam
  3. 3 VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5 Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium
  6. 6 UNICEF, New York City, New York, USA
  7. 7 Department of Medicine and Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8 Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jane Fisher; jane.fisher{at}


Introduction Economic evaluations of complex interventions in early child development are required to guide policy and programme development, but a few are yet available.

Methods and analysis Although significant gains have been made in maternal and child health in resource-constrained environments, this has mainly been concentrated on improving physical health. The Learning Clubs programme addresses both physical and mental child and maternal health. This study is an economic evaluation of a cluster randomised controlled trial of the impact of the Learning Clubs programme in Vietnam. It will be conducted from a societal perspective and aims to identify the cost-effectiveness and the economic and social returns of the intervention. A total of 1008 pregnant women recruited from 84 communes in a rural province in Vietnam will be included in the evaluation. Health and cost data will be gathered at three stages of the trial and used to calculate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios per percentage point improvement of infant’s development, infant’s health and maternal common mental disorders expressed in quality-adjusted life years gained. The return on investment will be calculated based on improvements in productivity, the results being expressed as benefit–cost ratios.

Ethics and dissemination The trial was approved by Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (Certificate Number 2016–0683), Australia, and approval was extended to include the economic evaluation (Amendment Review Number 2018-0683-23806); and the Institutional Review Board of the Hanoi School of Public Health (Certificate Number 017-377IDD- YTCC), Vietnam. Results will be disseminated through academic journals and conference presentations.

Trial registration number ACTRN12617000442303.

  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • cost – utility analysis
  • return on investment
  • early childhood development
  • learning clubs intervention
  • infant’s health
  • infant’s development
  • perinatal common mental disorders
  • Vietnam

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  • Contributors TN, KS and JF were involved in developing the conceptual framework for the economic evaluation protocol and wrote the paper. TT contributed on data analysis method. SL, DBH, SH, TT, HT and B-AB contributed to the secondary outcomes of the protocol and reviewed the paper.

  • Funding The economic evaluation is funded by Grand Challenges Canada under the Saving Brain Initiatives (grant number TTS – 1803-22331).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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