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USAID encourages private sector participation in new healthcare program

Sunday, November 02, 2014, 16:30 GMT+7

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday launched its Healthy Markets program, an initiative to encourage the investment of local private sector and foster growth of a commercial market, in Ho Chi Minh City.

The USAID’s $15-million project will support efforts to grow a viable commercial market for high quality HIV-related goods and services, including condoms, HIV testing, and counseling by working with the local private sector to leverage solutions, expertise, interests, and assets to foster market growth.

The project, running from 2014 to 2019, will also offer market data and consumer profiling, establish a Market Growth Advisory Board, technical assistance, and innovation funding.

It will also work closely with government partners to ensure policy and regulatory frameworks are in place to support market growth, including advocating for the introduction of a quality logo for condoms and other HIV-related goods and services.

In general, it will support a phased transition from an environment where HIV-related goods and services are predominantly subsidized to one where non-subsidized commodities, services and distribution channels are the norm, according to USAID.

To create a modern marketplace for such HIV-related goods and services, the project will explore new markets with local manufacturers, create opportunities for new distribution channels, and increase demands among key population including injecting drug users, female sex workers and men who have sex with men, said the U.S. agency. 

Despite significant progress in reducing the number of people living with HIV, the disease remains a critical health challenge in Vietnam.

“USAID is committed to supporting sustainable approaches to improve health in Vietnam,” said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the launching ceremony.

“Over five years, the project will work with private sector actors to explore opportunities for new distribution channels and increased demand among key populations. Ultimately, we aim for private sector-led solutions for access to and demand for the goods that are essential to a successful response to HIV in Vietnam,” she added

“I hope that the innovative approaches of Healthy Markets can be applied across Vietnam, contributing positively to the sustainable response to HIV,” said Mr. Vo Tan Thanh, General Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Ho Chi Minh City Branch.

Thanh also encouraged enterprises to “actively participate in Healthy Markets by producing, distributing and selling goods; providing services; or through their corporate social responsibility programs. This will ensure there are appropriate interventions to address HIV in Vietnam.”

Healthy Markets will be implemented by US-based nonprofit organization PATH, which is among world’s leader in global health innovation, with USAID funding through April 2019, in partnership with The Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, and T&A Ogilvy Co.

In 2011, Global Health Program of the US launched a similar program in Vietnam to improve people's health through supporting both public and private sectors in accessing and offering the HIV/AIDS high-risk groups with better prevention and treatment services. The $45 million program will last until 2016.

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Thoai Tran/Tuoi Tre News

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