Ha Giang Cross Border Project
In October 2010, HAARP began a Cross-Border Harm Reduction Program in Ha Giang, the northernmost point of Vietnam, across from Yunnan Province, Wenshan County. The core elements of the Program are peer and community education, dissemination and safe disposal of condoms, needles and syringes, gender-oriented activities, STI health referral and Monitoring and Evaluation. The aim is also to help develop government to government collaboration and coordination mechanisms to help address the very specific risk environment and service delivery issues in border areas.
In the period 1st October 2010 - 2nd June 2011, the Program successfully distributed 90,000+ needles and syringes and 97,000 condoms. Peer educators also collected and safely disposed of 50,000 used needles and syringes. The pharmacy voucher program has been particularly successful, with 93% of the 33,000 vouchers distributed, being redeemed for a needle/syringe and condom pack. The Women’s Health Club has held 58 meetings, reaching 1248 participants. The project includes voluntary counselling, STI examination and treatment, outpatient clinics and social occasions for mutual support targeted at women at risk. There have also been 23 community education sessions with 1113 participants, to boost support and understanding of harm reduction in the general population. This is supplemented by the dissemination of 15,000 leaflets designed and distributed by peer educators.
Staffs at the Ha Giang Provincial Health Department with the technical assistance of Dr Kieu Thanh Binh of Abt Associates, help to monitor and evaluate this program.
The Program has begun sex work intervention work in Malipo with Vietnamese entertainment workers and aims to reach out to substance users. However, due to the current ‘drug free’ status of Malipo County, most work with IDUs occurs on the Vietnamese side.
The future work plan includes increasing prevention and intervention activities amongst IDU and women at risk communities, on both sides of the border. Staffs also intend to conduct surveys, implement capacity building for project staff and continue to work towards expansion in Malipo and Vi Xuyen District.