The “Support to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration” (IAI) project implementation agreement was concluded by exchange of notes between the ASEAN Secretariat and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015. The IAI project aims to provide support to ASEAN’s newer and lesser developed member states namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV countries) in order to contribute to implement regional agreements, accelerating the regional integration process as a whole. The project covers two intervention areas in order to 1) facilitate free flow of services, investment in tourism and healthcare sector, and 2) implement Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) on tourism professionals and nursing services. It provides technical assistance activities on these two areas, particularly support to enhance the coordination, communication and monitoring of reforms, policy formulation and development of implementation plans, data collection and analysis, platforms for sharing information and experiences, stakeholder fora, and capacity development measures.
The MRA on Nursing Services (MRA NS) was endorsed by ASEAN Member States in the Philippines in 2006 in order to (i) facilitate mobility of nursing professionals within ASEAN, (ii) exchange information and expertise on standards and qualifications, (iii) promote adoption of best practices on professional nursing services, and (iv) provide opportunities for capacity building and training of nurses. MRA NS provides the nursing sector of Vietnam an opportunity to harmonize and enhance quality of training and practice in accordance with ASEAN standards, performing two out of nine priorities of the nursing sector in the period 2016-2020: (i) Improving attitudes and the quality of patient care towards patients’ satisfaction, and (ii) Strengthening the healthcare system at all levels, in line with international integration, to optimize the use of resources.
To implement MRA NS, the Nursing Division of the Medical Service Administration (MSA) is mandated to be the focal point to coordinate with other departments such as the Administration for Science, Technology and Training (ASTT), the Profession Division, the Quality Control Division, etc. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health needs close collaboration with related ministries (e.g. Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade) in aligning the National Qualification Framework (NQF) with the ASEAN Qualification Reference Framework (AQRF), improving investment environment for other ASEAN Member States in the healthcare sector.