Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Laws and policies relating to AIDS, drugs, and prostitution have been amended to help those affected to easily get benefits from government programmes, such as methadone and ARV therapy. But in reality, many people still face difficulties receiving the benefits because of ineffectiveness in policy implementation.
At a policy dialogue on the implementation of the laws and policies held on Friday in HCM City, a representative of New Life Group, which provides assistance and counselling to addicts in the city, said that red tape prevents many addicts from getting methadone therapy.
Patients must go through many procedures, including the identification of their addiction by the local relevant agency, he said.
According to Hope Group, which provides assistance and counselling to addicts in Bình Dương Province, waiting for two weeks or one month for an agreement on methadone therapy from a local relevant agency also makes it difficult to convince addicts to accept the therapy.
Moreover, addicts can only recieve the therapy in the province from 6.30am to 9am, which is not enough time, the group said.
T.Q.P. of HCM City, who declined to give his full name, said that he no longer dares to go on business trips to any other province while he is using methadone because once he went to Vũng Tàu City in southern Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province at which he was required to do many procedures to get methadone.
“Why wasn’t it simple?” T.Q.P. said.
Phạm Đức Mạnh, deputy head of Việt Nam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, said that currently addicts who want to voluntarily get methadone therapy only have to fill out an application and don’t need confirmation from local relevant authorities.
Mạnh said that T.Q.P. only needs a paper asking for methadone at Vũng Tàu City. The paper is provided by the centre where he is receiving methadone.
There are a gap between laws and policies and the practical implementation by local authorities, according to other representatives at the policy dialogue.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Thủy (not her real name), a former prostitute, said that the Government had a policy to provide loans to ex-prostitutes to start small businesses, but she had to complete procedures which were unreasonably required by local relevant agencies.
Until now, she has not yet received the loan.
Nguyễn Xuân Lập, head of the Department for the Prevention of Social Evils under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, affirmed that the capital for loans to ex-prostitutes is plentiful.
Lập said that he will work with local relevant agencies to solve the difficulties.
Đặng Thuần Phong, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs, said that local relevant authorities should improve the effective implementation of policies and laws relating to AIDS, drug and prostitution.
They should create favourable conditions for people with HIV/AIDS, addicts and prostitutes to get benefits from the Government’s programmes, Phong said.
He admitted that while the laws and policies showed the country’s progress in issues relating to AIDS, drugs and prostitution, they had not been fully suitable with the changes in society.
That was the reason why the policy dialogue was held to collect opinions from local relevant authorities and people with HIV/AIDS, addicts and prostitutes to help perfect the laws and policies. — VNS