29 September 2017 - On September 20, 2017 Dien Bien became Vietnam’s fourth province to officially authorize local funding for social health insurance (SHI) premiums and antiretroviral therapy (ART) copay costs for its residents. To do so, USAID SHIFT worked intimately with the Provincial AIDS Center (PAC) and Department of Health (DOH) to estimate the costs involved, develop the provincial proposal, and navigate the numerous processes involved in securing a Provincial Decision. The project’s local health system experts advocated intensively to ensure that both SHI premium and ART copay costs would be covered, including by enlisting peer provincial leaders to elucidate the importance of these twin commitments to Dien Bien PAC and DOH. As donor funding for HIV services declines, this decision will ensure that more than 750 previously uncovered HIV patients will continue receiving treatment to protect their health and prevent onward transmission. This milestone is particularly noteworthy given that Dien Bien is a poor, mountainous, largely rural are with numerous competing demands on its budget. USAID SHIFT has demonstrated its tenacity and skill at compelling local partners to make the commitments required to realize a sustainable HIV response.  

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