According to multiple sources, the leaders and planning staff of both Provincial and National Departments and Agencies in Vietnam often face a great deal of difficulty in presenting their plans and estimating budgets to decision makers. This is especially true in the area of HIV/AIDS programming due to the multi-disciplinary approach and the variation of the epidemic trends and modes in each province.
All PACs in PEPFAR’s focus provinces must present their budgets annually to their People’s Committee for the next year’s plan. The relationship between the program’s objectives and each province’s socio-economic development goals and financial needs are critically and carefully reviewed. However, PACs often receive a budget that does not meet their estimated needs. This is primarily because PACs’ staff do not have the scientific tools to persuade the Planning and Financial Departments and Provincial People’s Committees of the validity and necessity of their plans.
HPI believes that the RNM will be a valuable tool to support PEPFAR’s focus provinces in estimating the required resources for their HIV/AIDS programs.
HPI conducted the RNM training on June 23-25, 2009 in collaboration with FHI and UNAIDS. PACs’ delegates from 10 different provinces were invited to participate in the training held in Cat Ba, Hai Phong. These provinces included seven PEPFAR’s focus provinces (Hanoi, Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Nghe Anh, HCMC, Can Tho, and An Giang) as well as three North-West provinces (Lao Cai, Dien Bien, and Son La). VAAC and PHAD staff, representatives from FHI, USAID and UNAIDS also participated in the training. The training curriculum focused on introducing the methodology, sharing useful approaches, utilizing applicable skills, and practicing with prevention components.
Traditionally, application of the RNM requires many complicated steps and the data management is difficult to maintain by many provinces. Keeping this in mind, HPI worked with the RNM developers and other experts to simplify the RNM and tailor it to Vietnam’s situation, allowing for a wider use of the application in the provinces. Participants were taught the basic methods of using the RNM software. They were interested in learning how to use the RNM, as one participant said: “…this is one of very few training courses in which the facilitator informed the class they were dismissed, but participants still stayed in class to practice the model with their computers…”. Some participants were enthusiastic to apply the RNM to their provinces.
According to the course evaluation, a USB drive containing training materials and a participant contact list distributed to attendees was considered useful. Furthermore, the evaluation revealed that most participants were self-confident and proficient in using the methods introduced in the workshop.