Partner Perspectives: Bui Thi Thanh Mai Discusses Learnings from Viet Nam

Below is the first installment of a new series on the CHMI blog called Partner Perspectives. Through this series we will share interviews with our partner organizations so that you can learn more about the innovative organizations that help further CHMI’s efforts to collect and disseminate information, conduct analytical work, and form and maintain relationships and networks.

Bui Thi Thanh Mai, a founder of the Consultation of Investment in Health Promotion (CIHP) in Viet Nam, is a senior researcher in the field of public health who leads CIHP’s partner work with CHMI.

1. Why do you think health market innovations are important?

Working as researcher and implementer in public health, I have seen that health market innovations are important as they contribute to the better use of resources and improve the quality of services. They also help poor people to more easily access services and bring them a higher quality of care. Being a team member of CHMI, we are excited to be part of a global network that shares this vision and consists of key stakeholders like policymakers, researchers, implementers and donors. We hope to contribute our efforts to promote public-private partnerships and the efficient use of resources for better health.

2. What have you found to be the most interesting part about working with CHMI?

Through CHMI, we have been exposed to rich information and innovative models related to health markets. We also look forward to more information being disseminated about our partners here in Viet Nam as many people working to globally improve health markets are still not familiar with the researchers, implementers, and policymakers in our country.

One example that has influenced our thinking is a program named Tinh chi em (Sisterhood). Through CHMI, we learned how this model works to strengthen collaboration between provincial level health departments and an international NGO (Marie Stopes International). This partnership allows local health departments to take ownership of the program and act as franchisers, while utilizing the expertise and resources available through MSI-Vietnam’s extensive network. Our exposure to this model, as well as other programs in the CHMI database, has shown how CHMI can help in the designing of our future intervention programs.

3. What will improved collaboration between implementers, policymakers, and funders do for health markets in the developing world?

In my opinion, there are two ways to improve collaboration between implementers, policymakers, researchers, and funders. At the individual level, each of us should recognize the importance of the other stakeholders in the process to improve health status for people, especially poor people with limited resources, in the developing world. For example, policymakers can partner with researchers who can complement policy efforts with information about the main causes of problems in their specific context. Or, implementers can learn from each other and try to apply new models for designing more effective interventions.

At the institutional level, a spirit of learning among partners should be promoted. For example, funders could explore the impact of programs that are working and call for proposals that replicate these innovations. In addition, implementers could share their experiences and lessons learned on how to apply models in their local contexts. One powerful method applied by CHMI is to create forums for all stakeholders to dialogue and gain a common understanding on health markets.

CIHP is an institution of accumulated expertise in public health, community development, and the social sciences in Vietnam. CIHP strives for gender equality and good health for all people and aims to be one of the leading agencies committed to strengthening and expanding research, training and management of public health programs and community development.