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Private-sector engagement in Vietnam’s HIV response: Leveraging strategic partnerships and innovation to end AIDS by 2030

September 4, 2019 by PATH

The Ministry of Health and USAID/PATH Healthy Markets host workshop entitled Private-Sector Engagement in Vietnam’s HIV Response to discuss progress, key enablers, and challenges; and to define direction for the “Ending AIDS by 2030” Strategy

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Panel discussion with Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long (Head of The Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS control - VAAC), Ms. Pham Kieu Oanh (Director of Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion - CSIP) and representatives from private sector on HIV response.

Media contact: Lindsay Bosslet | PATH | media@path.org

Hanoi, August 30, 2019 — Leaders and senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), U.S. Embassy, global health nonprofit organization PATH, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and donors, private-sector companies, social enterprises, investors, incubators, local authorities, international organizations, and civil society organizations (CSOs) came together to discuss the strategic contribution of the private sector to domestic financing for HIV, now and in the future.

The significant reduction in external donor funding for HIV prevention and control represents a key challenge for the government of Vietnam to ensure a sustainable response to HIV, especially since Vietnam adopted the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS’ 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and ending AIDS by 2030.

Apart from health coverage through social health insurance and local public financing, leveraging the private sector for demand generation and HIV commodities and services is crucial for the sustainability of the HIV response in Vietnam. A total market approach helps to grow a market for HIV by better targeting free or subsidized products and services, and promoting the active engagement of the private sector for those who are able and willing to pay.

The Healthy Markets project is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by PATH. The project has partnered with the Ministry of Health and VAAC since 2014 to grow a viable commercial market for HIV-related products and services. Healthy Markets has brought together commercial businesses, social enterprises, and CSOs to address critical gaps in the HIV response. By utilizing market-based thinking, human-centered design, and shared value approaches, more than 50 community–led private clinics, social enterprises, and CSOs are now offering new alternatives to respond to the needs of those affected by HIV in ways that promote choice, self-reliance, and a vibrant market for HIV-related products and services. Twenty-five of these partners are already generating income through the sale of HIV-related products and services.

Key populations at the greatest risk of HIV, such as men who have sex with men; transgender women; people who inject drugs; and female sex workers, have demonstrated great capacity and entrepreneurship in Vietnam. Trusted within their community, they are able to offer tailored services in a non-judgmental environment and are playing a major role in increasing HIV case detection and reducing onward transmission. In 2015, a sustainable condom market, specifically meeting the needs of those affected by HIV, was established through private-sector partnerships and innovative distribution channels and has continued to evolve, with more than 82 million condoms sold by March 2019. In parallel, since 2015, more than 140,000 people have been tested for HIV through key population led CSOs and social enterprises, the majority of whom were seeking HIV testing for the first time and presented with higher levels of HIV than among those who had previously tested. Eight private clinics have been established since 2016, which serve the needs of HIV-affected populations that prefer to seek care in the private sector.

From a sample of nine private clinics, social enterprises, and CSOs supported by Healthy Markets to develop viable businesses that contribute to the HIV response, evidence from the past five years suggests that private-sector response to HIV can be financially self-sustainable. These nine organizations represent a range of business models, from small-scale condom sales agents to a multi-location chain of private clinics. Their annual revenue more than doubled between 2016 and 2018, from US$355,886 to $863,033. The financial returns from these business models catalyze greater domestic financing for Vietnam’s HIV response and advance self-reliance.

As part of a holistic approach, Healthy Markets engages with all sectors of the supply chain to encourage optimal pricing and product choice, placement, and promotion. This has resulted in partnerships with multinational companies like Abbot, OraSure Technologies, bioLytical Laboratories, Durex, Mylan, and Hetero, and local companies such as Vietnam Rubber Technologies, American Vietnamese Biotech, and Medevice 3S, which have realized the impact on both their bottom line and health outcomes. This year, private sector entities have invested more than $2 million in HIV-related commodity markets.

A major factor in the significant contribution of the private sector to Vietnam’s HIV response stems from the leadership and governance of VAAC. With their continued cooperation and commitment to deliver high-quality services outside of the public health system, the management of HIV-related goods and services continues to improve.

Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government works closely with the Ministry of Health, VAAC and others, including the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project, to develop a sustainable HIV response. Private clinics, social enterprises, and CSOs are at the vanguard of private sector HIV domestic financing in Vietnam and pathfinders on the journey to self-reliance. Lessons learned from the past five years will be critical in framing what comes next in terms of private-sector engagement and what should be featured in the Vietnamese government’s Ending AIDS Strategy by 2030.

For more information, please contact the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control, the Ministry of Health, or USAID/PATH Healthy Markets.

Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control

VAAC is a department within the Ministry of Health that assists the health minister in government management and implementation of legal policies, specifically supervision of planning, directing, and managing implementation of HIV programs across the country. Please visit http://vaac.gov.vn/ for more information.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

USAID leads the U.S. government’s international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises. Following more than 50 years of improving lives through development and humanitarian assistance, USAID continues to support partners to become self-reliant and capable of leading their own development journeys. Please visit www.usaid.gov or follow https://www.facebook.com/USAID/ for more information. Vietnam-specific sites: https://www.usaid.gov/vietnam and https://www.facebook.com/USAIDVietnam.

PATH

PATH is a global organization that works to accelerate health equity by bringing together public institutions, businesses, social enterprises, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. With expertise in science, health, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales solutions—including vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics, and innovative approaches to strengthening health systems worldwide. Learn more at www.path.org.

USAID/PATH Healthy Markets

The Healthy Markets project is a six-year initiative that aims to grow a viable market for HIV-related goods and services capable of meeting the needs of populations facing the greatest risks. Healthy Markets aims to improve the environment for private-sector and social enterprise engagement and investment; increase demand for HIV-related goods and services; and generate a sustainable supply of high-quality HIV commodities and services that are accessible and affordable. By growing a market for HIV-related goods and services, Healthy Markets (1) contributes to improved sustainability and country ownership of the HIV response and (2) supports efforts to reduce HIV incidence, including reaching the 90-90-90 targets. Healthy Markets is funded by USAID and implemented by PATH. PATH works closely with manufacturers, distributors, private health care providers, pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies, national and local governments, social enterprises, and civil society organizations.