Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of the National consultation workshop on Triple Elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis

Dr Kidong Park
22 May 2018

I am pleased to be here with you today and speak to you on behalf of UN agencies working on maternal, newborn and child’s health and HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis, at this important workshop on the development of national action plan on Triple Elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis in Viet Nam.

In October last year, the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific endorsed the Regional Framework for the Triple Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis in Asia and the Pacific 2018-2030, which sets a vision of every infant free of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis, building upon quality maternal, newborn and child health services.

The Regional Framework calls for a coordinated approach and efforts to achieve and sustain triple elimination and achieve better health for women, children and their families by 2030 in Asia and the Pacific.

In Viet Nam, we have witnessed the progress in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. The proportion of new HIV infections among children decreased from 10.1% in 2010 to 7.7% in 2014.

Universal infant hepatitis B vaccination has started since 2003 and hepatitis B birth dose vaccination has started since 2006. About 74.5% children received hepatitis B vaccination and 62.3% newborn received first dose of hepatitis B vaccination within the first 24 hours.

There are, however, bottlenecks and remaining challenges to overcome. Though the national guideline on Reproductive Health care in 2016 recommends HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis testing for all pregnant women as soon as possible, hepatitis B and syphilis testing are not routinely offered. In addition, most of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis testing are conducted during labour, and testing coverage remains low at 66.2% for hepatitis B, 44.1% for HIV and 15.9% for syphilis.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Triple elimination is doable. Thailand became the first country in Asia and the Pacific to be validated for elimination of HIV and syphilis in 2016, and now moving forward towards hepatitis B elimination.

Triple elimination is achievable in Viet Nam by overcoming these challenges.

The Regional Framework for the Triple Elimination suggests three pillars of priority actions:

  • Pillar 1 is about coordinated national policy and strategy. This includes high-level political commitment for the achievement of triple elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis; coordinated triple elimination policy that are built into national and subnational reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health policies, strategies, plans and guidelines; and interventions for triple elimination are included in essential health services packages and access to services are ensured and covered by public funding.
  • Pillar 2 is about seamless quality care for women, newborns, children and their families. This includes a plan for strengthening or scaling up of coordinated interventions for elimination, including universal screening for HIV, syphilis and, hepatitis B for women and their partners, linkages to appropriate care and treatment, timely hepatitis B birth dose and follow-up vaccination
  • Pillar 3 is about coordinated monitoring and evaluation of elimination. This includes national and subnational milestones and targets and standardized key indicators to be monitored based on global and regional recommendations; and regular monitoring and progress report of triple elimination indicators.

Colleagues and friends,

Every child should be given the best chance to start life healthy and free from preventable diseases – HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis.

We already have secured a strong political commitment globally as well as in Viet Nam. The sustainable development goal agenda, in particular SDG3, targets elimination of major infectious diseases including HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. The 12th Party Central Committee’s Resolution 20 on the protection, care and improvement of the people’s health in the new situation committed to pay special attention to maternal and child health, especially in mountainous, remote, difficulty areas, border and island areas.

Today’s workshop aims to discuss and obtain consensus on joint effort to drive forward the triple elimination agenda in Viet Nam. Today’s workshop will help us to elevate the agenda at a higher and more systematic level with stronger buy-in from national and provincial level officials from the early stage.

I urge you to focus discussion and agreement on the critical interventions to scale up access to screening and treatment services; financing options and coordination mechanisms; and monitoring and evaluation of the whole implementation process and each of every milestone towards elimination of the three diseases.

I trust that through the fruitful discussions, which I am sure will take place at this consultation workshop, you will strengthen and refine the specific and collective actions needed for elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis in newborns in Viet Nam.

Xin cảm ơn.