Cover page The Impacts of Mapping Assessments on Population Movement and HIV Vulnerability in South East Asia ISBN/DATE



Authors: Lee-Nah Hsu, Tia Phalla, Chansy Phimphachanh, Liu Wei, Nguyen Duy Tung, et al.



Knowledge-based 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 findings.
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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September 2001