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Q&A with PATH’s director of HIV and TB program about the launch of a national program in Vietnam to reduce new HIV infections

On November 30, PATH, USAID and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health launched a national program intended to substantially reduce new HIV infections. Global Washington conducted the following Q&A about the new initiative over email with Dr. Kimberly Green, director of PATH’s HIV and TB program.

Why is PATH advocating that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) be made widely available in Vietnam? What lessons did you learn during this process?

PATH is a trusted partner of the Vietnam Ministry of Health (building off of nearly 40 years of work together), and is known and appreciated for facilitating introduction of new, impactful health technologies and approaches. Most recently this included piloting and then scaling HIV lay and self-testing. From 2015, when WHO first included PrEP as part of global HIV prevention guidance, the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project fostered technical consultations with the MOH to determine if, when and how PrEP would be introduced. With concerns over increasing HIV prevalence among key populations and a growing demand for new HIV prevention options, the MOH agreed that PrEP be included in the HIV 5-year action plan and to pilot PrEP service delivery. Another step that was critically important was working with men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) to better understand demand, willingness to pay and service delivery preferences for PrEP.  Once the MOH and the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project had agreement on the service model, a pilot launched in March 2017. The results were very rapidly positive so the MOH decided to use the preliminary results to add PrEP to national HIV clinical guidelines. This led to greater support within and outside of Vietnam to support the scale-up of PrEP. The recent launch is a result of this cumulative commitment to scaling PrEP and accelerating the reduction of new HIV infections Read More

Mothers Unite

By Olga Vnodchenko, Grants and Program Officer, Seattle International Foundation

 “Pedimos gobiernos que rompan los muros de indiferencia.” (“We ask that the governments break their walls of indifference.”) – a mother

Early this November, I represented Seattle International Foundation at the first Global Summit of Mothers of Missing Migrants (Cumbre Mundial de Madres de Migrantes Desaparecidos) in Mexico City.

Each year, a Caravan of Mothers* of Missing Migrants travels from Central America into and across Mexico along migration routes, searching for their children and family members who went missing trying to reach the U.S. For the first time, mothers from other continents joined members of this Caravan of Mothers for a historical summit to share stories, build ties, and work collaboratively to shed light on the efforts of families searching for their missing relatives. Read More

Violence Against Women in Central America is a Powerful Factor in the Migration Crisis

By Fatema Z. Sumar, Vice President of Global Programs, Oxfam America

As stories of the migrant caravan dominated U.S. headlines this fall, I found myself in a woman’s shelter in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa listening to stories of extreme violence and heartbreaking courage.  I heard the story of a 7-year-old girl named Valeria who was given a choice between staying safe in this shelter or going back to her abusive father who could pay her school fees – Valeria chose to go to school.  Now, my 7-year-old daughter will never have to choose between her education and her safety. But millions of girls in Central America do not have that choice.

As I traveled last month with Oxfam throughout the Northern Triangle – to the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador – I heard gut-wrenching stories of gender-based violence and poverty, hunger, and gangs. It became clear to me the migrant caravan is more than a humanitarian crisis or an immigration issue. Read More