Sensitization meeting with Members of the National Assembly on the HIV Investment Case

Thursday 10th July 2014

Dr. Kristan Schoultz, UNAIDS Viet Nam Country Director

 

Mr. Dang Thuan Phong, Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly Social Affairs Committee and Chair of the sub-committee on AIDS, Drugs and Sex Work,

Members of the National Assembly,

Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director General of the Viet Nam Administration for AIDS Control,

Colleagues and friends,

Good morning:

First, let me thank you for inviting me to address this important meeting. It is a real privilege! Today we will consider innovations to sustain the national response to HIV, including the creation of greater efficiencies in service delivery and increasing financial sustainability through a tighter focus in programming.

We are all aware of the many impressive achievements of Viet Nam’s response to HIV. About 80,000 people living with HIV have been put on life-saving antiretroviral treatment; nearly 16,000 people who inject drugs have received methadone maintenance therapy to reduce their dependence on drug injection and thus reducing their risk of HIV infection; and new initiatives are being explored to improve key populations’ access to clean needle and syringes, condoms and HIV testing.

However, we also know that the “due date” for the Millenium Development Goals—the year 2015–is right around the corner. Viet Nam has been enormously successful with most of the MDGs, but is not on track to achieve Goal 6 on HIV and AIDS. In addition, we know that external financing for HIV is dwindling, and domestic resources for HIV have not yet been increased to fill the gap left by donors.

Clearly, we are at a critical moment in Viet Nam’s response to the epidemic. The impressive achievements made over the past 15 years are now seriously threatened because of the uncertainty around funding.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is now time to switch gears. I am not being dramatic when I say that if we don’t take action now, we could see a rapid resurgence of the epidemic among Viet Nam’s most vulnerable populations.

On the other hand, this is also a moment of real opportunity. A moment for Viet Nam leaders to take critical decisions to secure the sustainability of the HIV response and set the country on course to end AIDS by 2030.

UNAIDS and other international partners commend Viet Nam for the development of the “Project to Ensure Financial Sustainability of the National HIV Programme by 2020”. This Project has been approved by the Prime Minister and represents the strong determination of the Government of Viet Nam to address the sustainability challenge. Now we must collectively turn the Project into reality.

The international community is very much encouraged to see the Viet Nam Administration for AIDS Control taking strong leadership in this effort, and making the best use of existing global knowledge and innovations to shape a more sustainable response. One of these global innovations is the investment approach to HIV, which is designed to support leaders in their decisions about resource allocation by identifying what works in a particular country context, and by providing an indication of where efficiencies can be generated. It can also be very useful in highlighting opportunities for innovative domestic financing for the national response to HIV. 

In a few minutes, we will hear more about this new approach and the breakthrough initiative being led by the VAAC for the development of a strategic Investment Case for HIV in Viet Nam. For now, I just want to say that by embracing this initiative, Viet Nam is serving as an example and leader in the region, and indeed the world. Our experience with this approach will be a valuable “best practice” example for other emerging middle-income countries that face difficulties in sustaining the national response to HIV.

International partners in the HIV response are committed to continue supporting Viet Nam in this vitally important effort. We have confidence that Viet Nam will make bold decisions and wise choices that are informed by the investment approach and the country’s Investment Case, in order to achieve the national goals on HIV by 2020 and the global vision of ending AIDS by 2030.

Once again, I thank you for your invitation to be with you today, and I look forward to a fruitful discussion.

Thank you and chuc suc khoe.

Download

Green One UN House, 304 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam