HÀ NỘI — Civil society organisations (CSOs) had contributed much to HIV/AIDS prevention and control, but obstacles remained in their work, experts said at conference on Wednesday in Hà Nội.
The conference was joint-organised by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) and the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
The conference coincided with World AIDS Day which will fall on Sunday. It aimed to collect ideas and propose measures to enhance CSO’s roles in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
Experts said the funding for CSO work mainly came from international support, as Việt Nam did not have a law or policy for State funding for CSOs supplying HIV/AIDS prevention services.
Phạm Nguyên Hà, project deputy director of VUSTA, said the obstacles related to policies, funding and organisation.
To uphold the role of CSOs, Hà asked the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control and the Ministry of Health to set policies which allowed CSOs to tender for services related to HIV/AIDS prevention.
Detailed guidance on the work should be issued, he said.
Associate Professor Trần Kim Chung from the Central Institute for Economic Management said to resolve obstacles related to finance, localities should calculate all the international support they received and then come up with a budget to support HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
Provincial departments of health and departments of finance should cooperate with each other to set up funds that were suitable for each locality, she said.
Chung proposed simplifying administrative procedures to make it easier for CSOs to access loans.
Speaking at the conference, Nghiêm Vũ Khải, deputy chairman of VUSTA, said that over the years, Việt Nam and international organisations including UNAIDS had tried their best to reach the 90-90-90 target. This means that by next year, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infections will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90 per cent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression. All of the targets are towards AIDS elimination by 2030.
CSOs played an important role in supplying services for HIV/AIDS prevention for people facing high risk of the disease, he said.
The CSOs also contributed ideas to amend laws and policies related to the issue, said Khải, adding that they also offered free consultancy via hotlines and training courses.
Over the past 10 years, Việt Nam had treated nearly 60,000 heroin addicts with methadone, and was providing ARV for more than 50,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the VUSTA.
All of the patients have free medical insurance cards. — VNS