Tia Phalla, Chansy Phimphachanh, Liu Wei, Nguyen Duy Tung, et al.
development is one of the strategies of the UNDP South East Asia HIV
and Development (UNDP-SEAHIV) project in its technical assistance to
countries. The goal is to strengthen countries' capacity to
effectively combat the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. The mapping assessments
supported by UNDP-SEAHIV are not an end in themselves. In this
context, they were specifically designed for use as advocacy tools
to inform decision makers in their continuing efforts to improve
national HIV prevention strategies, policies, and programmes.
Mapping assessment of HIV vulnerability is a new hybrid methodology
devised by UNDP-SEAHIV. Consequently, it is important to get
feedback from the countries one year after the round of Mapping
Assessments (MAs). The national AIDS authorities were asked how they
had used the results. The report presents the countries' own review
It is impressive to realize, based on the countries' feedback, that
each country has put to use the assessment results in its own ways.
The findings are particularly heartening in view of the fact that on
an official institutional time scale, one year is but a short time
span for initiating any concrete actions. Despite the short
timeframe, the MAs are already being applied as effective tools in
advocacy for a development and multisector approach and as a lever
to secure commitment from both the public and private sectors.
Up to 1998, no national AIDS programmes in the Greater Mekong
Subregion considered mobility. Assisted by the findings of MAs and
astutely utilized by national AIDS authorities one year after the
MAs, mobility is not only recognised as an important factor for
HIV/AIDS policies and programmes, it is now being included in the
official government planning process. Clearly, due to the short time
span, this is only at the initial stage of a process, but the
principle of integration of mobility has now been achieved.
The critical next step is to translate the MA results into concrete
programming. Such transition is a difficult challenge because there
is no prior experience on which to rely. One needs to go beyond the
temptation to simply target high-risk mobile groups such as truck
drivers or seafarers.
The contribution of the MAs is to demonstrate that it is necessary
to go beyond target group-based activities to intervene in the
mobility systems themselves in order to defuse the role of the
mobility systems in the spread of HIV. It is thus critical to focus
on the causes and contexts of risk behaviours created by the
mobility systems rather than on pre-labelled risk groups.
At present there are no ready answers to this challenging shift of
paradigm. The second and third chapters of this paper therefore
explore a number of related issues with the objective of stimulating
innovative thinking and continuous discussions to explore ways to
move forward on the crucial issue of addressing the mobility system.
This is done to ensure that future HIV/AIDS policies and programmes
will have real impacts on the epidemic in South-East Asia.
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