At the request of USAID/Vietnam, FANTA works with the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/Vietnam, the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and other US Government partners to strengthen HIV and nutrition programming. FANTA helps maximize PEPFAR/Vietnam’s investments in nutrition and HIV and in support for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
Nutrition and HIV Assessments: In 2008 FANTA conducted an initial assessment of PEPFAR/Vietnam and Ministry of Health (MOH) nutrition and HIV programs and interventions to support the integration of food and nutrition into HIV programming. The assessment team recommended establishing a technical working group on nutrition and HIV, developing national guidelines for nutrition care and support of PLHIV, and assessing infant feeding practices among HIV-positive women. In response, USAID/Vietnam requested FANTA’s technical assistance to design a program for nutrition assessment, counseling and support (NACS) of PLHIV and OVC.
In 2009, FANTA and NIN supported an assessment by Boston University and the Vietnamese research organization NEWCARE of infant feeding practices of HIV-positive women in a hospital in Hai Phong Province and urban clinics in Ho Chi Minh City. The objective was to determine whether respondents could safely implement the MOH’s recommendation of exclusive replacement feeding for HIV-positive women. The results of the assessment, Challenges for Safe Replacement Feeding among HIV-Positive Mothers in Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: A Qualitative Study of Mothers, Fathers, Health Care Providers, and Other Experts, will inform future social and behavior change communication materials on infant and young child feeding.
To inform PEPFAR/Vietnam-supported nutrition and food interventions, FANTA is working with PEPFAR/Vietnam Partners to assess the prevalence of severe and moderate acute malnutrition among PLHIV and OVC. FANTA is also supporting an acceptability study of two ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) in Vietnam among HIV-positive adults and children (Plumpy’Nut® and a locally produced rice-soy-mung bean product).
Technical Assistance and Capacity Strengthening: Under a sub-agreement with NIN, FANTA provides technical and capacity-strengthening support to coordinate and monitor the implementation and scale-up of nutrition and HIV interventions and facilitate partner involvement. FANTA estimated quantities and costs of therapeutic and supplementary food needed for clinically malnourished PLHIV at PEPFAR/Vietnam-supported antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites and provided technical assistance to Family Health International (FHI)/Vietnam and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Vietnam to review nutrition screening and assessment tools and training materials, and to Pact/Vietnam to strengthen the quality of nutrition screening and assessment in community- and home-based care and clinic services.
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