Remarks by Marta Levitt, Senior Health System Strengthening and HIV Advisor, at USAID HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project Dissemination Workshop

Monday, August 29, 2016

(as prepared for delivery)

  • Dr. Ly Penh Sun, Director of NCHADS
  • Dr. Christian Pitter, Chief of Party of HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project, URC
  • Mr. Choub Sok Chamreun, Executive Director of KHANA
  • Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning. It is my great pleasure to be here today to welcome you to the second Dissemination Workshop of  USAID’s HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project.

As Cambodia moves towards virtual elimination of HIV, it is ever more important to identify what elements of the national program are producing the desired results and which elements require adjustment.  The importance of evaluating innovative approaches to programming and finding efficiencies is heightened.  And this is where research and evaluation play critical roles.

The USAID HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project aims to provide relevant information to Cambodia's decision-makers at the policy, implementation, and community levels. This information will inform,  interventions relevant to key populations around such priorities as HIV prevention and testing, new case finding, links to HIV care and treatment, and ART adherence among key populations.

This morning we will hear the findings from 3 evaluations that have been examined: the Srey Sros program for transgender women; the MStyle program for men who have sex with men; and the Geographic Information System Mapping of Key Populations in Cambodia. Among other things, these studies show that these branded TG and MSM programs are well-received by the populations they serve and that there is demonstrated effectiveness of programs targeted toward TG and MSM, although further program implementation improvements are necessary to achieve optimal outcomes.  The Geographic Information System Mapping program, while showing promise, has not been shown to deliver the benefits initially anticipated.

The goal of this workshop is to share evaluation findings with decision-makers and provide a space for thoughtful consideration of their implications for the national program.  It is hoped that the knowledge shared in this forum will support the national program and its partners to scale up successful innovations, which will help us achieve the goals set forth by the national program. This kind of innovation, evaluation, and replication has been a trademark of Cambodia’s successful HIV response to date. In fact, Cambodia enjoys the reputation of being one of the few countries in the world that has achieved its Millennium Development Goals related to HIV.

Another hallmark of Cambodia’s success is the early adoption of WHO global guidelines. In this regard, I would like to this opportunity to congratulate NCHADS for obtaining approval for “Test and Treat”.  Immediate ART enrollment of newly diagnosed key populations such as MSM, transgender women, entertainment workers and people who inject drugs will prevent the spread of HIV infections and improve health outcomes for those living with HIV.

Finally, USAID would like to recognize the valuable partnership with NCHADS and the Flagship Project partners – KHANA, FHI360, PSI and the local civil society organizations implementing the key population programs at the community. USAID and other U.S. government agencies under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are grateful for the collaboration with the government in testing new strategies and innovative approaches in the endeavor to reach Cambodia’s virtual elimination goals.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you today, and for your continued partnership in Cambodia’s HIV response.

Phnom Penh
Issuing Country