"Coordination, management and utilization of foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS...

 

Introduction
International assistance for the HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Vietnam has significantly contributed in combating against this epidemic. However, while current resources have not yet fully met the needs, the management and utilization of resources was still had many limitations which affect on the effectiveness of foreign assistance and investments. The independent assessment was prepared for the Conference on “the Coordination of Foreign Assistance for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control”. Analytical assessment and comments on the management, coordination of foreign aids were made on the basic o Government’s official procedures and regulations on those issues. This research was carried out in October, 2006
 
Objectives
Objectives of the research were: 1) to analyze the current status of receipt, allocation and utilization of foreign aids for HIV/AIDS prevention period 2001 – 2005; 2) to evaluate the capacity to organize, policies and management – coordination mechanism of foreign aids; and 3) to make concrete recommendations on policies, mechanism and solutions to improving the receipt, utilization and coordination of foreign aids for HIV/AIDS in the future.

Methods
A combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods was applied. Three different questionnaires were designed for three target objects: 64 provinces and cities in the country; 17 Ministries and agencies, mass organizations at the central level; and 34 ODA Donors and International Non-governmental Organizations that provide assistance to the HIV/AIDS prevention program in Vietnam. In-depth interview was conducted with representatives of a number of major donor agencies in Hanoi and leaders of functional Departments and agencies that play key roles in managing and coordinating foreign aids for HIV/AIDS prevention. Literature review was made to a number of relevant documents

Findings
Total national budget for HIV/AIDS prevention period 2001-2005 is approximately 23 millions USD, though it remains low and not yet meet the financial needs as set out in the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, it still ranks high as compared to other national health programs. Total international assistance budgets for the HIV/AIDS control and prevention in Vietnam in the period 2001-2005 is about 69 millions dollars. If adding some other non-reported sources including from outside the country, the actual number could rise up to 80 millions dollars.

The coordination, management and utilization of foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam has had many problems which need to be changed and improved. The standard guidelines of procedures on developing the projects/programs were not relieved. Participations of Vietnamese organizations in the process of designing projects were not profound. A number of regulatory in the management of foreign assistance remain inconsistent or unspecific such as those on time requirements, division of responsibilities among Government agencies.  Monitoring and supervision of program have not received due attention, particularly lack of tools and indicators for measuring the effectiveness of the foreign funded projects. The allocation of the State budget was not appropriately, most interventions were occurred at local levels, however, half of budgets almost always allocated for the central level. The staff working in both government and international organizations did not being equipped adequate knowledge and understanding of the important Government regulatory documents on management and use of foreign assistance. Lacking of regular information sharing between government agencies, management organizations and donor organizations has had impacts to the capacity of Government in making long term planning as well as in management and guiding of the foreign assistance.

Limitations: there was a lack of a comprehensive official data base and quite a few reference materials on the receipt and management of foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam for comparison purpose. In addition, the response to the study’s questionnaires was much delayed and many of the questionnaires were not duly filled, therefore, indirect methods of estimation were also applied for some data analysis.

Conclusions
In order to improve the coordination, management and utilization of foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention, several measures should be implemented. At first, regulations on management, coordination and utilization of foreign assistance should be completed; the limitations of the documents should be adjusted for more unified system of formats and standards. Localities should also strengthen their activeness and capacity in mobilizing and appraisal and approval procedures for HIV/AIDS prevention projects. MPI, MOF and MOH should collaborate to each other for overcoming the limitation and overlapping, in parallel to develop mechanism for monitoring and evaluation for improving the effectiveness of foreign assistance. Some common training courses on the system and the regulations related to management of foreign aids and programs/projects should be organized jointly for professional staffs involved in the HIV/AIDS projects/programs working in Government and international agencies. Finally, specific research should be conducted for every issue, creating the base for facilitating the management, coordination and utilization of foreign assistance.

 

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