Under the project “Strengthening counseling and testing services in military health system of Vietnam” funded by DOD/PEPFAR, the Military Medical Department (MMD) and the Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD) co-organized the training workshop on HIV counseling and testing. The workshop held September 5-9, 2011 in Hai Phong.
The purpose of the workshop was to train military health staffs on knowledge and skills of voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) and PITC. The trainees were expected to apply what they would have learned from the workshop to VCT and/or PITC works at their military health facilities after completion of the workshop.
The trainers of the training workshop included 4 health staffs, who successfully completed the earlier training of trainer (TOT) course on HIV counseling and testing. The trainers had completed a similar training in Ho Chi Minh city for military health staffs in the southern provinces. Fourty trainees representing 21 military health facilities of 14 provinces in the northern Vietnam participated in the training workshop. Technical advice and facilitation was provided by 2 independent experts, and experts of PHAD and DCPH.
Training materials were developed based on a need assessment and model development. Findings from the need assessment suggested 2 appropriate PITC models. Those 2 models were piloted at hospitals 103 and 175 and the more appropriated one was selected for the training and use in military health facilities. Training package was developed based on HIV Counseling Handbook for the Asia-Pacific Region of WHO, FHI, and UNICEF; major revisions were made to adapt training materials to regulations of the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, the context of policlinics where the number of patients is large and the contact time with patient is limited in the observation of the needs assessment in the hospital 103 and 175.
Improved awareness of the importance and the necessary of the HIV pretest and post-test counseling, knowledge and skills of VCT and PITC among the trainees were recorded after the training. The proportion of trainees who had correct answers increased to 78% in the post-training test from 60% in the pre-training test. The majority of the trainees (75%) received good test score after training while none of them received good test score before the training. The trainees were interested in participatory training method applied in the workshop.
The trainees actively discussed the implementation and possible challenges of VCT and PITC in reality. HIV counseling and testing experts of Hanoi HIV/AIDS Prevention Center, Bach Mai HIV Counseling and Testing Center – the center with more than 10 years of experience on implementation of HIV counseling and testing in health facility context, and PHAD facilitated the discussion and shared experience with trainees and representatives of MMD. It was found through the discussion that knowledge and skills of HIV counseling and testing are necessary; and support of the MMD and management board of the military health facilities was even more important for effective implementation of the VCT and PITC.