• Conceptions of Agency and Constraint for HIV-Positive Patients and Healthcare Workers to Support Long-Term Engagement With Antiretroviral Therapy Care in Khayelitsha, South Africa

      Stern, E; Colvin, C; Gxabagxaba, N; Schutz, C; Burton, R; Meintjes, G (Taylor & Francis, 2017-03-01)
      In the context of the optimism around antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prevention of HIV/AIDS, addressing the barriers to long-term ART adherence is critical. This is particularly important given the tendency to individualise or use a blame discourse when exploring why HIV-infected patients "fail" to adequately adhere to ART, and not sufficiently exploring contextual reasons for poor adherence that may require varying solutions. This study took place at three clinics and one hospital in Khayelitsha, South Africa, to document the contextual factors that challenged ART adherence in this community. Interviews were conducted with 20 HIV-infected patients who had defaulted on their ART and were subsequently admitted to Khayelitsha hospital for clinical complications, and 9 ART service providers including doctors, nurses and HIV counsellors. Interviews assessed the reasons patients defaulted on ART and explored ways this could be prevented. Data from both groups were analysed collectively using thematic analysis. While the interviews revealed a landscape of environmental risks threatening adherence to ART, all patients managed to overcome the identified barriers at some point in their treatment phase, indicating the fluidity of patients' needs and decision making. Patients reported that distrustful relationships with service providers could inhibit their understanding of ART and/or interrupt their follow-up at clinics. Patients described their rationale and agency underlying non-adherence, such as testing their bodies' physical limits without ART medication. The study speaks to the need to appreciate contextual social and structural barriers related to ART adherence, and how these are negotiated differently by specific sub-groups, to support an appropriate response. It is imperative to not solely emphasise loss to follow-up but also assess patients' subjective trajectory of their ART journey, decision making and agency with adhering to ART, their relations with healthcare workers, and how these dynamics are intertwined with broader constraints in health systems.
    • A national survey of the impact of rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy on health-care workers in Malawi: effects on human resources and survival.

      Makombe, S D; Jahn, A; Tweya, H; Chuka, S; Yu, J K L; Hochgesang, M; Aberle-Grasse, J; Pasulani, O; Schouten, E J; Kamoto, K; Harries, A D; HIV Unit, Ministry of Health, Lilongwe, Malawi. (WHO, 2007-11)
      OBJECTIVE: To assess the human resources impact of Malawis rapidly growing antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme and balance this against the survival benefit of health-care workers who have accessed ART themselves. METHODS: We conducted a national cross-sectional survey of the human resource allocation in all public-sector health facilities providing ART in mid-2006. We also undertook a survival analysis of health-care workers who had accessed ART in public and private facilities by 30 June 2006, using data from the national ART monitoring and evaluation system. FINDINGS: By 30 June 2006, 59 581 patients had accessed ART from 95 public and 28 private facilities. The public sites provided ART services on 2.4 days per week on average, requiring 7% of the clinician workforce, 3% of the nursing workforce and 24% of the ward clerk workforce available at the facilities. We identified 1024 health-care workers in the national ART-patient cohort (2% of all ART patients). The probabilities for survival on ART at 6 months, 12 months and 18 months were 85%, 81% and 78%, respectively. An estimated 250 health-care workers lives were saved 12 months after ART initiation. Their combined work-time of more than 1000 staff-days per week was equivalent to the human resources required to provide ART at the national level. CONCLUSION: A large number of ART patients in Malawi are managed by a small proportion of the health-care workforce. Many health-care workers have accessed ART with good treatment outcomes. Currently, staffing required for ART balances against health-care workers lives saved through treatment, although this may change in the future.