USAID SHIFT ‘s Newly Revamped Reach 4.0 Risk Assessment Launches

5/5/2019 - On April 27, USAID SHIFT launched online advertisements in Hanoi to drive traffic to its newly revamped Reach 4.0 online risk assessment and appointment scheduler. In just six days, 182 individuals that completed the assessment were identified as being at high risk of HIV, 75 registered for testing (facility, lay or self-testing) and more than 20 people living with HIV (PLHIV) not currently in treatment were identified for follow-up. So What? Online outreach is critical to connecting with hidden and under-reached key populations and is a core component of USAID SHIFT’s current case-finding acceleration plan aimed at increasing testing and linkages to treatment for PLHIV in Hanoi.

Photo: Landing page for new Reach 4.0 risk assessment

Photo: Landing page for new Reach 4.0 risk assessment

USAID SHIFT Launches Case Finding Action Teams in Hanoi

28/4/2019 - As results for Q2 in Hanoi were finalized this week, USAID SHIFT launched three cross-technical action teams to identify root causes of poor case finding performance and implement improvements at each project-supported site in Hanoi. Already, these action teams have contacted all seven SHIFT-supported sites (and conducted three intensive site visits) to coach them on improving client-centered, key population-friendly services while also providing technical assistance to improve index testing services. USAID SHIFT’s cross-technical teams are able to bring their diverse expertise to evaluate each site’s performance holistically while developing innovative solutions to improve Hanoi’s progress towards ensuring 90% PLHIV know their status, a key milestone in epidemic control.

Provincial Authorities Pledge Nearly $38,000 To HIV Prevention in Dong Nai and Tien Giang

19/4/2019 - In March, Dong Nai pledged VND 750 million (US $32,300) and Tien Giang pledged VND 126 million ($5,430) for fiscal year 2019 to support HIV prevention and case finding activities through financial stipends and performance-based incentives for community-based supporters in districts and communes that do not currently receive international donor support for this work. USAID SHIFT provided technical assistance to provincial leaders as they worked to allocate resources towards populations at increased risk for HIV and will continue to work with leaders to ensure appropriate targeting of funds as the HIV epidemic evolves. As international donors reduce funding for these areas, substantive, adaptive domestic financing for HIV prevention and case finding activities will serve as the backbone of efforts to prevent HIV transmission and diagnose 95% of all people living with HIV, both key to achieving HIV epidemic control.

Local Health Authorities in Tay Ninh and Tien Giang Improve Accuracy of National HIV Database

12/4/2019 - As newly-supported provinces, USAID SHIFT provided comprehensive technical assistance to Tien Giang and Tay Ninh from Summer 2018 through March 2019 to verify all HIV cases logged in HIVInfo. During the months-long process, local health authorities in both provinces reviewed every person living with HIV (PLHIV) in the system and confirmed mortality, treatment and residency status, eventually recommending records for removal (a total PLHIV case reduction of 17.5% in Tay Ninh and 10.6% in Tien Giang) from HIVInfo. Case verification activities ensure the accuracy of provincial data and support the appropriate allocation of project and government resources for HIV services.

USAID-SHIFT-Supported Sites Successfully Rollout SHI-for-ARVs

5/4/2019 - Four weeks after the launch of social health insurance (SHI) reimbursement for antiretrovirals (ARVs) in Vietnam, five USAID SHIFT-supported sites have already claimed $13,000 in reimbursements for 2,140 patients (58,005 pills). Prior to the March 8 launch and during the first weeks of implementation, USAID SHIFT provided comprehensive technical assistance to ensure patients, doctors, and pharmacists successfully prescribed, dispensed and tracked ARVs purchased using SHI. The successful scaling of SHI for ARVs nationally, including at USAID SHIFT supported sites, is critical to the long-term sustainability of HIV interventions as international donors reallocate HIV resources to other countries.

Photo: A pharmacist at Quang Ninh General Hospital prepares antiretrovirals for patients using social health insurance

Photo: A pharmacist at Quang Ninh General Hospital prepares antiretrovirals for patients using social health insurance

USAID SHIFT Responds to More Than 100 TA Requests

29/03/2019 - The USAID SHIFT program operates the Technical Assistance (TA) Marketplace where local HIV stakeholders can access information about pre-qualified TA providers with expertise in diverse domains. Since its launch in October 2016, USAID SHIFT has fulfilled more than 100 TA requests using providers listed on the TA Marketplace. This unique platform is promoting a sustainable HIV response by centralizing information about qualified TA providers available to be matched with those in need of technical support.

Photo: Screenshot of online portal for USAID SHIFT TA Marketplace (   www.TAMarketplace.org   )

Photo: Screenshot of online portal for USAID SHIFT TA Marketplace (www.TAMarketplace.org)

USAID SHIFT Capacitates Government Clinics to Retain HIV Patients in Treatment

25/03/2019 - Attrition is a serious threat to the effectiveness and sustainability of a country’s HIV response; when the quality of HIV treatment services are poor, patients may not adhere to treatment regimens, miss scheduled clinic visits, fail to pick up medications, and even die prematurely due to complications from the AIDS virus. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, the USAID SHIFT program coached and supported 31 government clinics to reduce HIV patient attrition by 32%. So what? Through the program’s Enhanced Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Retention Intervention, USAID SHIFT is ensuring that government clinics deliver high-quality services to track and retain patients and reduce efforts required to reengage lost patients.

Photo: Screenshot from USAID SHIFT Attrition Data Dashboard

Photo: Screenshot from USAID SHIFT Attrition Data Dashboard

National Dashboard to Track SHI-Covered ARVs Launched with Technical Assistance from USAID SHIFT

15/03/2019 - Building on last week’s initiation of social health insurance (SHI)-covered antiretrovirals (ARVs), this week the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) and Vietnam Social Security Agency (VSS) launched a national dashboard to track uptake of SHI for ARVs. The dashboard launch is the culmination of a year-long advocacy and technical assistance effort from USAID SHIFT, which, after just four working days, has already tracked 1,339 patients from 25 provinces as receiving SHI-covered ARVs. So What? This dashboard will ensure VAAC, VSS, and international donors are able to monitor the transition from donor-supported to SHI-covered ARV drugs and quickly address issues to ensure patients do not experience interruptions to their antiretroviral therapy.

Photo: Map automatically generated by dashboard system tracking national uptake of SHI-covered ARVs as of March 13, 2019

Photo: Map automatically generated by dashboard system tracking national uptake of SHI-covered ARVs as of March 13, 2019

USAID SHIFT Coordinates National SHI for ARV Event Headlined by Minister of Health and US Ambassador

08/03/2019 - US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink and Vietnam’s Minister of Health led a national celebration of the country’s first HIV patients to receive treatment medicines through social health insurance (SHI). The event was hosted from Nam Tu Liem District Health Center in Hanoi, where the USAID SHIFT program has helped see that more than 90% of HIV patients have valid SHI cards. So What? SHI-covered drugs will ensure that HIV patients in Vietnam can stay on treatment while USAID and PEPFAR reallocate resources.  

Photo 1: US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink speaks to the crowd on March 8 and congratulates Vietnam on efforts to sustain HIV services despite international funding reductions

Photo 1: US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink speaks to the crowd on March 8 and congratulates Vietnam on efforts to sustain HIV services despite international funding reductions

Photo 2: Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien speaks to the crowd on March 8 and underscores the Government of Vietnam’s commitment to the use of SHI for ARVs

Photo 2: Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien speaks to the crowd on March 8 and underscores the Government of Vietnam’s commitment to the use of SHI for ARVs

USAID SHIFT Helps Integrate Information Systems for Government HIV Treatment Sites

01/03/2019 - The USAID SHIFT program is helping Government of Vietnam health facilities to integrate HIV into their information systems, allowing for streamlined HIV patient management, program reporting, and social health insurance tracking. After completing integration for 21 sites in FY17-18, in the first quarter of FY19 the program began assisting 10 additional large, government-operated HIV treatment facilities in six provinces to integrate HIV in to their native data platforms. Such health informatics work is vital to promoting a locally-sustainable HIV response, as integrated health information systems improve service efficiency and tracking from site to national level.  

A clinician uses integrated health information system to review information on her patients’ treatment services and outcomes.

A clinician uses integrated health information system to review information on her patients’ treatment services and outcomes.

USAID SHIFT and Government of Vietnam Enable 97.7% of HIV Patients to Achieve Viral Suppression

25 February 2019 - When HIV patients’ treatment is highly effective, the amount of virus circulating in their systems dramatically declines, improving their health outcomes while reducing their risk of transmission. Over the last year, the USAID SHIFT program has helped Government of Vietnam clinics measure the HIV viral loads of 20,946 eligible patients, of whom 97.7% had suppressed viral loads (less than 1,000 copies of HIV viral RNA per milliliter of blood, or <1,000 cp/mL) and 96.8% had undetectable viral loads (<200 cp/mL). These results indicate superb treatment quality and adherence, helping to control the HIV epidemic while improving HIV patients’ prospects for healthy lives.  

Treatment provider counseling an HIV patient on his viral load testing results

Treatment provider counseling an HIV patient on his viral load testing results

Screenshot of USAID SHIFT Viral Load Data Dashboard

Screenshot of USAID SHIFT Viral Load Data Dashboard

USAID SHIFT-Supported Sites Exceed HIV Case-Finding Targets

18 February 2019 - Between October and December of 2018, the USAID SHIFT program assisted government and affiliated community sites to provide HIV testing, counseling and results to 14,446 at-risk individuals. Of these, 1,039 – or 7.2% – were confirmed HIV-positive and supported to access treatment. Thanks to comprehensive capacity building and support from USAID SHIFT, sites in six high-priority provinces are far exceeding their HIV case-finding aims while taking increasing ownership for the HIV response.

USAID SHIFT Partners Diagnose 1,039 HIV Cases in Last Quarter

11 February 2019 - As Vietnam prepares for the annual Tet holidays, the USAID SHIFT project is celebrating high achievements from its local partners. Between October 1 and December 31, 2018, project-supported sites in six provinces provided HIV testing and counseling to 14,446 people, of whom 1,039 (7.2%) were confirmed HIV-positive, far exceeding its quarterly aim for both the number and proportion of new cases found. These high results reflect the strengthened capacity of government health facilities to accelerate HIV epidemic control, by collaborating with community actors to reach and diagnose those at greatest risk of HIV.

USAID SHIFT Supports Local Partners to Reach 7,433 At-Risk Individuals with HIV Services

28 January 2019 - Vietnam was the first country in Asia to commit to UNAIDS Fast Track targets, whereby 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) are aware of their status, 90% of these are sustained on treatment, and 90% of PLHIV on treatment have viral suppression. While the country has made significant progress in recent years, at least 40,000 PLHIV remain undiagnosed and approximately 10,000 new cases are contracted annually, making HIV outreach and prevention essential. Between October and December of 2018, the USAID SHIFT project trained, coached and enabled provincial and local health authorities and community partners to reach 7,433 at-risk individuals with evidence-based HIV prevention interventions, link 4,286 of those in need to HIV testing and counseling, among which 205 new cases were diagnosed and 198 enrolled on treatment. USAID SHIFT is strengthening the capacity of local stakeholders to chip away at the “first 90” – an essential milestone to enable the country’s HIV epidemic control.

Health Information System Upgrades Helps Clinics Transition to SHI-Covered ARVs

20 January 2019 - USAID SHIFT has worked with Vietnamese internet and telecommunications providers to integrate HIV into native health information systems, including to help sites track uptake of social health insurance (SHI)-covered antiretroviral medications (ARVs). With USAID SHIFT support, Nam Tu Liem District Health Center and Hospital 09 in Hanoi have entered data for 1,863 HIV patients into the upgraded systems. The system upgrades will help clinic staff validate HIV patients’ eligibility for SHI and submit accurate SHI claims – essential steps to facilitate Vietnam’s transition from externally-financed to SHI-covered ARVs.

USAID SHIFT Helps Accelerate HIV Treatment Access

11 January 2019 - Evidence shows that expediting access to HIV treatment can dramatically improve health outcomes for people living with HIV, while reducing transmission and loss to follow-up. The USAID SHIFT program is enabling providers to reduce the time between confirming a client’s HIV diagnosis and dispersing their first antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications by reducing the number of clinical tests required before scripting and criteria that excluded some patients from immediate ART. Between July and November 2018, the proportion of new patients receiving antiretrovirals within 24 hours of enrolling in treatment in project-supported sites increased by 36% (from 58% to 79% of new HIV patients). These data confirm that the project’s efforts to expedite access to ART are bearing fruit and will substantively improve patient outcomes as they continue.

Tay Ninh’s Leaders Commit to Improving PLHIV’s Access to SHI Across Province

2 January 2019 - As the Government of Vietnam takes on increased responsibility for the funding of antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV (PLHIV) will need to have social health insurance (SHI) to access free and low-cost ART. On December 24, 2018, the Tay Ninh People’s Committee finalized a resolution approving a social health insurance (SHI) master plan for PLHIV in the province, including the use of local funds to cover 100 percent of SHI card premium costs and copays for ART. The commitments made by the Tay Ninh People’s Committee will increase the number of PLHIV that are able to receive and utilize SHI across the province, helping them access affordable treatments and increasing treatment adherence, both key factors in PLHIV achieving suppressed viral loads.

USAID SHIFT and National HIV Authority Launch Patient-Centered HIV Case-Finding Model

16 December 2018 - On December 10 and 11, the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) joined with USAID SHIFT to lead a comprehensive training on “Treat and Test” – a new approach to accelerate HIV case-finding through contact tracing and ART enrollment. The training course enabled 50 HIV clinicians, counselors and community-based supporters from Hanoi to address patients’ treatment preferences and needs, then rapidly track and diagnose new cases through methods of each patients’ choosing. Through the model, USAID SHIFT and VAAC are empowering patients while increasing opportunities to identify and disrupt HIV transmission chains, and will expand the model to additional provinces next week.

Hanoi health care provider reviews job aid for contact training at Treat and Test training on December 10

Hanoi health care provider reviews job aid for contact training at Treat and Test training on December 10

USAID SHIFT and Local Partners Provide HIV Community Outreach and Testing on 30th Annual World AIDS Day

2 December 2018 - On December 1, 2018, USAID SHIFT joined with its community-based partner, Lighthouse, and collaborators to provide hundreds of youth at Hanoi’s Trade Union University with access to HIV knowledge and testing services while celebrating progress towards epidemic control. The event used performances and interactive games to challenge stereotypes and raise participant understanding and acceptance of both the LGBTQ community and of people living with HIV, as well as detecting six additional cases among 83 who used on-site testing services. Through positive, community-based activities such as these, USAID SHIFT is empowering local organizations and youth networks to help end the country’s HIV epidemic.

Social work students from Hanoi’s Trade Union University review IEC materials at USAID-supported HIV testing booth

Social work students from Hanoi’s Trade Union University review IEC materials at USAID-supported HIV testing booth

USAID SHIFT Helps Accelerate Sustainability of HIV Response through Social Health Insurance

23 November 2018 - On November 20, USAID SHIFT joined HIV stakeholders in a workshop on using social health insurance (SHI) for antiretroviral drugs. During the event, representatives from the Ministry of Health/Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (MOH/VAAC) announced that 89% of HIV patients on treatment now have social health insurance cards – up from 40% five years ago. USAID, through the SHIFT project, is helping national and local health authorities accelerate this process to ensure a sustainable HIV response, by training HIV treatment facilities to deliver SHI-covered HIV services and integrating HIV into their health information systems. All major Vietnamese news channels aired segments on the workshop -- including an interview with USAID Vietnam Health Office Director Ms. Ritu Singh on USAID’s contributions to HIV treatment sustainability for Vietnam. Together these channels reach more than 10 million viewers per day, ensuring that Vietnamese audiences across the country now have better knowledge of USAID’s important role in these efforts.

Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control

Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control

Ms. Ritu Singh, USAID Vietnam Health Office Director

Ms. Ritu Singh, USAID Vietnam Health Office Director