Improving HIV programs using participatory monitoring; expanding the capacity of PLHIV networks to gather, analyze, and use evidence to engage in policy dialogue
D.D. Dong1, K. Morrison2, M. Guarinieri3, E. Mallas4, C. Teter5
1Vietnamese Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (VNP+), Hanoi, Viet Nam, 2Futures Group International, Health Policy Initiative, TO1, Mexico, DF, Mexico, 3Futures Group InternationalThe Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Asia and the Pacific, Geneva, Switzerland, 4Futures Group International, Health Policy Initiative, TO1, Washington, United States, 5CEDPA, Health Policy Initiative, TO1, Washington, United States
Issues: Countries have made great strides in meeting prevention, treatment, and care and support goals. Access to quality HIV services and widespread stigma and discrimination remain key barriers to effective implementation. The need to increase involvement of PLHIV in Vietnam has been voiced by many stakeholders including the Vietnamese government. Unfortunately, PLHIV still lack the critical skills needed to carry out effective advocacy and engage policy makers in dialogue.
Participatory monitoring mechanisms have shown tremendous promise for strengthening policy implementation. The Vietnamese Network of People living with HIV (VNP+) and USAID | Health Policy Initiative (HPI), Task Order 1, are implementing a participatory monitoring model to aid leaders in improving access to and quality of HIV-related treatment services and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Description: HPI piloted the participatory monitoring methodology in Vietnam with VNP+, a group of more than 140 PLHIV groups formed in 2008. HPI trained over 60 HIV-positive individuals, including representatives from vulnerable groups such as IDUs, SWs, and MSM, to gather and analyze data, develop conclusions, and formulate advocacy messages. Participants identified specific indicators linked to national monitoring plans and processes. With technical and financial support from HPI, VNP+ developed the research protocol, data collection method, and data entry tools.
Lessons learned: The citizen monitoring methodology was effective in empowering PLHIV to gather data using structured questionnaires and use this data to build advocacy messages while reinforcing community solidarity, cooperation, communication and involvement. Through skill building, PLHIV used evidence to actively engage in policy dialogue and reduce misperceptions by policy makers and the general community. Lessons learned were transferred to a similar project in Mali. Data collection tools were modified to allow easier analysis and transfer of skills to the PLHIV network.
Next steps: Results will be disseminated to key stakeholders via an end of project workshop.