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Ministry of Health Rolls Out New Plan for Strengthening Private-Sector Engagement in Vietnam’s HIV Program

October 20, 2022 by PATH

The Vietnam Ministry of Health and USAID through its supported project, PATH STEPS, outlined an implementation road map for Vietnam’s first-ever HIV private-sector engagement plan

Media contacts:

  • Ms. Cao Kim Thoa | Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health | thoavaac@gmail.com | + 84 912445338
  • Ms. Ngo Minh Trang | US Agency for International Development/Vietnam | tngo@usaid.gov | +84 987304968
  • Ms. Tran Tham | US Agency for International Development/PATH STEPS | ttran@path.org | +84 838810235

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, October 20, 2022—Today, the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) of the Ministry of Health and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its supported project, PATH STEPS, convened a workshop to celebrate Vietnam’s first-ever HIV private-sector engagement plan, outline ways forward for implementation of the plan, and reflect on the trailblazing role that the private sector has played in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS in the country. The event was attended by distinguished national and provincial health leaders, including VAAC Director, Professor Phan Thi Thu Huong, as well as representatives from USAID and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), HIV program implementing partners, and the private sector.

Over the past decade, the private sector—including local social enterprises, multinational life sciences and pharmaceutical companies, and multimedia groups—has played a pivotal role in increasing access to affordable HIV products and services among communities most at risk. These communities include men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who inject drugs, and their partners and families; young people; and those working in industrial zones.

Private-sector HIV health services have increased in both supply and demand. There are now more than 20 private clinics that offer HIV and integrated primary health care services in urban areas of Vietnam. Approximately 50 percent of individuals in the country who use HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP; an oral pill that effectively prevents HIV infection when taken as prescribed) are enrolled at private-sector clinics [1]. Private-sector entities have also been key for innovation, enabling the introduction and scale-up of new products like HIV self-testing and locally manufactured condoms, and have driven the design and implementation of transformative HIV communications approaches, game-changing digital health systems, and diverse service delivery models that effectively engage and serve key populations at highest risk of HIV.

“The Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control recognizes the important role of the private sector in the national HIV program over the years. [This is exemplified] by the National Strategy for Ending AIDS by 2030 of the Prime Minister and the Revised Law on HIV/AIDS of the National Assembly which promulgate regulations and solutions for diversifying HIV financing, increasing private sector engagement and investment in HIV, and expanding provision of services such as HIV testing, PrEP, and nPEP (nonoccupational post-exposure prophylaxis) as part of the HIV response,” said Professor Phan Thi Thu Huong, Director, VAAC.

External donor funding for HIV prevention and treatment in Vietnam has decreased markedly since the early 2010s, and this trend is expected to continue over the coming period. With Vietnam’s burgeoning economy and the private sector’s increasing interest in having greater impact through their businesses, private-sector entities are well-placed to play an even greater role in the HIV market and enhance sustainability of lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment and primary health care services.

During today’s event, VAAC presented its new Plan for HIV Private-Sector Engagement and Investment for 2021–2025 and discussed working mechanisms for implementing the plan and advancing strong public-private coordination over the coming four years. This plan is the country’s first comprehensive guidance to direct the engagement of private-sector entities in the HIV program in support of the Government of Vietnam’s Strategy for Ending AIDS by 2030. It provides key metrics and a pathway toward facilitating and measuring this engagement and investment.

USAID/PATH STEPS, a five-year project funded by PEPFAR that aims to catalyze greater HIV- and primary health care–related market growth, will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Health to put the private-sector engagement plan into action at national and subnational levels. STEPS forges strategic partnerships with all sectors involved in the supply chain to encourage optimal pricing and product choice, placement, and promotion.

At the event, Randolph Augustin, Director of the Office of Health at USAID/Vietnam, affirmed USAID’s commitment to activating a greater role for the private sector through this new plan: "Following the USAID Global Private-Sector Engagement Strategy, we are committed to working closely with government counterparts to leverage the private sector’s expertise, resources, and investment to address development challenges and achieve greater impact and scale. We look forward to supporting key provinces with technical assistance to operationalize this plan and secure greater investment and support from private-sector entities.”

For more information, please contact the above-mentioned points of contact.

[1] Ministry of Health/Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control. National PrEP monitoring data; January 2017–July 2022. Hanoi, Vietnam: Ministry of Health.