Speaking points of Strengthening Leadership and Multisectorial Collaboration in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control programme

23 Mar 2009

Speaker: Ms Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Viet Nam Country Director
Date:    March 23, 2009
Event:   Speaking points “Tripartite HIV Leadership meeting” and “Terminal Conference” of Strengthening Leadership and Multisectorial Collaboration in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control programme

Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Truong Vinh Trong,
Excellency Mr To Huy Rua,
Excellency Madame Tong Thi Phong,
Excellency Mr. Phung Huu Phu
Excellency Madame Truong Thi Mai
Members of the Programme Steering Committee,
Representatives from Lang Son, Khanh Hoa and An Giang,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to start by thanking the top leaders of the Party and National Assembly who are present here today in this final review. Your presence proves the strong commitment of Vietnamese leaders in leading the nation to fight against HIV/AIDS.

We, international partners from the UN and Swedish Sida, feel privileged and honoured that we could, over the past years, work closely with you on this program for “strengthening leadership and multi-sectoral collaboration in HIV/AIDS prevention and control”.

We feel proud that we could, through this program, make contributions to the development and implementation of the Party Directive 54 and Law on HIV. These documents provide clear policy and legal frameworks to guide HIV/AIDS work at all levels in Viet Nam.

The program also made contributions to, as Prof. Hung and Dr. Tien mentioned in their reports, the fast implementation and close monitoring of the Party’s Directive and Law on HIV, especially in the three program provinces. As for the results, good models have been developed and tested. The multi-sectoral collaboration mechanism in the form of an “HIV Association” in An Giang is an excellent example: Innovative mechanisms were set up to involve people living with HIV in policy development and implementation; Effective behavioural change communication work was undertaken;  the local party organisation and elected bodies issued and guided the passage of local resolutions and plans for implementation of the Party’s Directive 54 and HIV law.

The biggest lesson we have learned from this program is that when leaders from the Party, elected bodies and the Government work in harmony, by providing concerted guidance, mutual supports, and personal involvement, they can make break-throughs in deepening the HIV work while improving the lives of People Living with HIV. Such a difference is clearly shown in the presentation on the study of HIV impacts: People Living with HIV clearly benefit from the decisions to make ARV more readily available.

At the final workshop of a program like this, you may ask “what will happen to these good results and models?” Will they be continued and replicated? We are very pleased to learn that the program provinces will make more funds/budget available for sustaining the results and continuing the work started in this program. We are also pleased to learn that the program’s successful models, experiences and best practices are being replicated in some other provinces. We are keen to see that such best practices are well documented and disseminated widely.

Talking about the achievements of this program, I think that we should not forget that the challenges ahead all of us are enormous. We all know that among 8 Millennium Development Goals, Viet Nam may not achieve the MGD 6 on HIV/AIDS if greater efforts are not put in place.

To reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS an even higher degree of multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration between Party organizations, elected bodies and Government agencies at all levels is needed. Stronger leadership is needed to end HIV related stigma and discrimination; to ensure the universal access to information and services including People Living with HIV/AIDS’ access to ARV; and general care, counseling, and treatment services.

In the context of the current global economic crisis, ODA flows to developing countries are expected to temporarily decrease and such flows of ODA to Viet Nam will be further reduced when Viet Nam achieves a Middle- Income country status. It is important to ensure a higher and increasing level of the Government’s resources allocated to HIV work to sustain the efforts in this important battle against HIV/AIDS in Viet Nam.

We believe that under the strong leadership of the Party, the National Assembly and the Government, Viet Nam will win this battle and ensure that HIV will not contribute to offsetting the remarkable development achievements Viet Nam has been making so far. I would like to reiterate that, working together as One, the UN Country Team stands ready to further support Viet Nam in responding to the HIV/AIDS challenge.

I would like to finish by thanking all the colleagues and partners who have contributed to the successful implementation of the program during the past four years. In particular, Prof. Hung and Madame Hoai Thu who together with former UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Jordan Ryan initiated this program; the Party and National Assembly project management and staff at the central and provincial levels who worked very hard in implementing the program; the leaders from the Party, National Assembly, and Government agencies who provided valuable support; as well as our colleagues from Sida and UNAIDS who have been important professional partners.    

I hope that we will continue to “take the lead, stop AIDS, keep the promise”.
Toi hy vong chúng ta se tiep tuc “Đi tiên phong, ngăn chặn AIDS, và giữ vững cam kết”.

Cam On, va, Chuc Suc Khoe.