7 October 2016 – The USAID Sustainable HIV Response from Technical Assistance (SHIFT) project launched the Kênh Hợp Tác Hỗ Trợ Kỹ Thuật, or Technical Assistance (TA) Marketplace, to bolster the response to the HIV epidemic in Vietnam. The USAID SHIFT project is making the TA Marketplace available for local HIV stakeholders to request and receive technical assistance in HIV programming.

An orientation event brought together national and provincial stakeholders who will be eligible to request USAID SHIFT project-funded support from the TA Marketplace. The stakeholders, or marketplace customers, included Departments of Health and Provincial AIDS Centers from 11 provinces, including the three “priority” provinces of Dien Bien, Nghe An, and Ho Chi Minh City. These three provinces were selected by USAID, VAAC and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to achieve ambitious “90-90-90” goals established by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). The 90-90-90 goals work towards ensuringat least 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) know theirHIV status, 90% of PLHIV who know their status are on treatment, and 90% of PLHIV on treatment have viral suppression to prevent continued transmission and disease progression.

The event began with opening remarks from Acting USAID Vietnam Mission Director Craig Hart and Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director-General of the Vietnam Authority for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC). USAID SHIFT Chief of Party Mr. Reed Ramlow introduced the project’s focus on achieving the 90-90-90 goals while also transitioning the HIV response to local ownership. USAID SHIFT Technical Director Dr. Nguyen To Nhu described the project’s main technical areas of focus for 2016-17, which span strengthening and expanding HIV care and treatment services, scaling up social health insurance for PLHIV, promoting sustainable financing of the HIV response in Vietnam, reducing stigma and discrimination towards PLHIV, and integrating electronic health information systems in care and treatment. Dr. Le Hien, Associate Director for Technical Assistance Coordination and Health System Strengthening (TAC/HSS) for USAID SHIFT, explained how local HIV stakeholders will submit requests for project support and provide recommendations. The morning session closed with a brief demonstration of the interactive TA Marketplace website that allows users to search for HIV technical and operational experts.

As well as demonstrating how the marketplace can offer substantial added benefit to requesters in their work, the event highlighted ways potential TA providers can collaborate and contribute to combating HIV in Vietnam. Participating providers included representatives from local civil society groups like Blue Sky and Life Centre, based in Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi-based COHED and CCRD, as well as from the Hanoi Medical University and Hanoi School of Public Health. Each was shown how to register as a TA provider and support the HIV response through high-quality assistance. 

Slides from the event are available below: