Community-based organisations play key role in nation’s HIV/AIDS fight hinh anh 1Patient monitoring and management at Binh Dinh Province’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Center (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Flexible and effective outreach by 43 local community-based organisations (CBOs) has made significant progress possible in preventing HIV infections and providing treatment for HIV-positive people in Vietnam.

This, in turn, will enable the healthcare sector to achieve the national goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, speakers said at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10.

Representatives of CBOs from Hanoi, HCM City and eight other localities discussed with counterparts from the Centre for Promotion of Quality of Life (LIFE), local Centres for Disease Control (CDCs) and other authorised agencies the role of innovation and creativity in healthcare for HIV patients.

The eight other COBs attending the seminar were: Can Tho City and the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Tien Giang and Kien Giang.

The initiative was supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS ReliefFund (PEPFAR) in Vietnam.

Vo Hai Son from the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Department under the Ministry of Health said the prevalence of HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) had increased rapidly in recent years.

Therefore, it was necessary to focus activities on specific intervention programmes to increase treatment access for MSM and transsexual groups, he said.

“Cross-sectoral coordination and actions of relevant community organisations play an important role in enhancing early detection and treatment for new cases of HIV infection,” he added.

Nguyen Thi Lan from LIFE said more than 6,000 people were consulted, assessed and offered oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from 2019 to 2021 thanks to the COBs.

She said COBs had successfully adopted flexible approaches (PDI, online, ILOM, PE,..), constantly switched between offline and online communication, digitally recorded and managed customer information, and built satellite models and networks.

They had also strengthened close coordination with local authorities and health facilities, enhanced PrEP and mobile HIV-test services, and developed effective models offering better customer care services, she said, adding: “Continuous innovation and creativity is needed for growth.”

According to Le Trong Minh, leader of the G-Net Biên Hòa CBO in Dong Nai province, the organisation, established in 2015, has 10 members and about 10 volunteers.

Adopting the motto of “G-Net Bien Hoa together with you”, they mainly offer HIV tests and treatment referrals for MSMs, persons who use injected drugs (PWID) and female sex workers.

Last year, they detected and facilitated the provision of anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for 200 people living with HIV/AIDS, PrEP treatment for 350 people, and treatment for 120 people infected by other sexually transmitted diseases.

“Effective and flexible working methods of long-time members, collaboration between our organisation and local public health system, and funding support and training from organisations like LIFE are key factors in increasing the number of key population segments utilising prevention and treatment services,” Minh said.

To deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, G-Net Bien Hoa launched a campaign last year called "Thousand steps for the community," using social networks to promote physical training and sports activities, and respond to the national action month on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

The campaign received more than 100 video clips with creative footage on physical exercise and other activities from locals across the country.

As a result, G-Net Bien Hoa received the "community legend" award for the best community organisation in 2021 in Dong Nai.

LIFE is a non-profit Vietnamese social organisation established in 2007 under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association. It has provided training to help CBOs to become more innovative and build staff capacity for working on HIV/AIDS projects and programmes./.