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VCSPA Annual Meeting 2014 – Gathering, sharing and thriving

Ngày 24 tháng 10 năm 2018

In the context that HIV/AIDS remains prevalent, resources for HIV response are largely reduced, the sustainability of community-base organizations are strongly affected, and several barriers for PLHIV to access to services exist, this year Annual Meeting of the Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS, organized in Da Nang from 12th – 14thNovember 2014, has fulfilled the needs for experience sharing and learning of VCSPA members.
 
VCSPA Annual Meeting 2014 had 450 participants, representing 285 community and faith-based and non-governmental organizations, from 48 provinces across the country. There were also representatives from the Vietnam Administration on AIDS Control (VAAC) - Ministry of Health; the Department for Social Vices Prevention (DSVP), Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs; the Global Fund project; Hanoi Association of AIDS Prevention; Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO); French National Research Institute on HIV and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS); Monteplier Medical School, France.


VCSPA Annual Meeting has become an important day to all VCSPA members as well as to people working in the field of HIV/AIDS over the past years.
 
During the 3-day meeting, VCSPA members had participated in 25 sessions around 5 major topics. Besides discussions and updates of information, the participant also had the opportunity to have direct and open dialogue with leaders of the Ministry of Health, VAAC, DSEP as well as international and national experts.
 
Topic 1: The roles, achievements and challenges of CBOs and NGOs 
In his presentation on “Updates of HIV and TB situation in Vietnam – the roles of CBOs and NGOs”, Mr. Bui Duc Duong, Deputy Director of VAAC – Director of Global Fund project in Vietnam, said that “Vietnam’s civil society organizations have been contributing to significant policy advocacy related to the rights of people living with and affected by HIV, access to affordable medicines, access to prevention, care, support and treatment services”.


Dr. Bui Duc Duong presenting at VCSPA Annual Meeting 2014.
 
He also stated that civil society organizations had had significant contributions in providing prevention, care, support and treatment services for vulnerable populations, especially in filling the gaps of services in areas yet to be covered by the government.
 
However, community based organizations still faced with many challenges including the lack of a consistent legal framework for their registration and management, being greatly dependent on international supports, and existing stigma and discrimination.
 
Topic 2: Experiences and Initiatives to ensure sustainability of community-based organizations
In the environment of reducing international supports, ensuring sustainability had became a priority of community based organizations. Exceptional CBOs had shared their experiences and know-hows in this discussion. 


Representatives of 4 CBOs sharing their experience on resource mobilization.
 
Chan Troi Moi club, Muong Ang district, Dien Bien province, due to their success in supporting drug users in the past 3 years, could advocate the provincial Bank for Social Policy for a loan of 100 million vnd to expand production and generate jobs for drug users.
 
Open, working with a goal of helping vulnerable populations in Vietnam, through different fund raising approaches was able to operate, develop and actively implement their support activities with the annual total budget of 480 million vnd.
 
Vsmile, besides business and commercial activities, had been implementing HIV prevention services, activities to promote equal rights of LGBT and capacity building for youth.
 
Phap Bao Community Counseling and Support Center had a mission of Bringing values and better quality of life for the poor and vulnerable populations. Phap Bao Center had strongly encouraged donations from individual Buddhists, philanthropists, and local businesses; fund raising through public events such as charity auction, exchange of goods, incense for sales etc.
 
Topic 3: Policies related to key affected populations
The discussion had the participation of Dr. Le Thi Ha, Deputy Director of DSEP; and Mr. Phan Van Toan, Health Insurance Department, MOH.
 
Many questions on health insurance, identity papers, homeless children, livelihood loan, administration fines etc were asked and answered openly by Dr. Le Thi Ha and Mr. Phan Van Toan.
 
Regarding health insurance for people who do not have identity papers, Mr. Phan Van Toan said “They can join health insurance through the company they work at or commune People’s Committee where they live. They need to send their photo to health insurance agency for considerations”.
 
Topic 4: Barriers of and Initiatives to increase access to services


Many barriers were identified in the discussion.
 
Care, support and treatment services were vital to both PLHIV and key affected populations, yet many barriers existed preventing them to access to such services. They included lack of information on available health services, social stigma and discrimination, self-stigma, lack of identity papers, limited information of treatment regimens, treatment rejection due to known HIV status, reduce in the number of health clinics due to funding cut etc.

The participants proposed several solutions for this situation including promote communication to disseminate information and reduce stigma and discrimination; stronger advocacy to protect the rights of key affected populations; forming groups and networks to have stronger and united voice.
After the discussion, a working group on HIV had been formed to promote and protect the legitimate rights of PLHIV in Vietnam.
 
Topic 5: The participation of faith based organizations in social works
 
Being 1 of the 5 major sectors of VCSPA, for many years, with the spirit of “saving and helping people”, faith-based organizations which were VCSPA members as well as in Vietnam as a whole had had significant contribution to social works.
 
They had created a healthy environment for monks, students, and members of KAP; being a bridge between champions with those needed help the most; organized educational classes and social events for children of KAP; supported poor children to go to school; visited and care for lonely elderly; opened examination and counseling clinic for PLHIV; organized meditation classes for KAP; mobilized community, especially youth, to participate in social works.

Besides the 5 main topics, the Annual Meeting 2014 also had discussion sessions on Community overdose relief with Naloxone; community involvement in research; TB prevention and treatment as well as the establishments of a Network to support TB prevention and treatment.
 
The Candle Light Vigil dedicated to commemorate people who have died of AIDS was organized solemnly. Hundred of candles were lit up by VCSPA members.
 
The participants also actively and wholeheartedly joined the gala night with several colorful and diverse performances from each sectors.


The group wedding ceremony was full of laughter and warmest wishes
 
VCSPA Annual Meeting 2014 had a very special and memorable event of a group wedding ceremony for 10 couples. They knew each other through VCSPA, loved each other through VCSPA, and wed at VCSPA.

The Annual Meeting ended with everyone looking forward to the next so they could meet again.
 
KC Hải Vương

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