• Adapting a community-based ART delivery model to the patients' needs: a mixed methods research in Tete, Mozambique

      Rasschaert, Freya; Decroo, Tom; Remartinez, Daniel; Telfer, Barbara; Lessitala, Faustino; Biot, Marc; Candrinho, Baltazar; Van Damme, Wim (BioMed Central, 2014-04)
      To improve retention in antiretroviral therapy (ART), lessons learned from chronic disease care were applied to HIV care, providing more responsibilities to patients in the care of their chronic disease. In Tete--Mozambique, patients stable on ART participate in the ART provision and peer support through Community ART Groups (CAG). This article analyses the evolution of the CAG-model during its implementation process.
    • ART adherence clubs: a long-term retention strategy for clinically stable patients receiving antiretroviral therapy

      Wilkinson, Lynne Susan; Médecins Sans Frontières Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa (Health and Medical Publishing Group, 2013-05-21)
      The ART-adherence club model described here provides patient-friendly access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for clinically stable patients. It reduces the burden that stable patients place on healthcare facilities, increasing clinical human resources for new patients, and those clinically unstable and at risk of failing treatment. In the model, 30 patients are allocated to an ART club. The group meets either at a facility or community venue for less than an hour every 2 months. Group meetings are facilitated by a lay club facilitator who provides a quick clinical assessment, referral where necessary, and dispenses pre-packed ART. From January 2011 to December 2012, after adoption for phased rollout by the Western Cape Government, more than 600 ART clubs were established in Cape Town, providing ART care to over 16 000 patients. This extensive, rapid rollout demonstrates active buy-in from patients and facility staff. South Africa should consider a similar model for national rollout.
    • A biregional survey and review of first-line treatment failure and second-line paediatric antiretroviral access and use in Asia and southern Africa

      Van Cutsem, G; Saphonn, V; Saramony, S; Vibol, U; Zhang, FJ; Han, N; Saghayam, S; Kurniati, N; Muktiarti, D; Fong, SM; et al. (BioMed Central, 2011-04-08)
      To better understand the need for paediatric second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART), an ART management survey and a cross-sectional analysis of second-line ART use were conducted in the TREAT Asia Paediatric HIV Observational Database and the IeDEA Southern Africa (International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS) regional cohorts.
    • Community-based antiretroviral therapy programs can overcome barriers to retention of patients and decongest health services in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

      Decroo, Tom; Rasschaert, Freya; Telfer, Barbara; Remartinez, Daniel; Laga, Marie; Ford, Nathan; Médecins Sans Frontières, Av. Eduardo Mondlane 38 - CP 262, Tete, Mozambique. (Oxford University Press, 2013-09-05)
      In sub-Saharan Africa models of care need to adapt to support continued scale up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and retain millions in care. Task shifting, coupled with community participation has the potential to address the workforce gap, decongest health services, improve ART coverage, and to sustain retention of patients on ART over the long-term. The evidence supporting different models of community participation for ART care, or community-based ART, in sub-Saharan Africa, was reviewed. In Uganda and Kenya community health workers or volunteers delivered ART at home. In Mozambique people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) self-formed community-based ART groups to deliver ART in the community. These examples of community ART programs made treatment more accessible and affordable. However, to achieve success some major challenges need to be overcome: first, community programs need to be driven, owned by and embedded in the communities. Second, an enabling and supportive environment is needed to ensure that task shifting to lay staff and PLWHA is effective and quality services are provided. Finally, a long term vision and commitment from national governments and international donors is required. Exploration of the cost, effectiveness, and sustainability of the different community-based ART models in different contexts will be needed.
    • High rate of virological re-suppression among patients failing second-line antiretroviral therapy following enhanced adherence support: A model of care in Khayelitsha, South Africa

      Garone, D B; Conradie, K; Patten, G; Cornell, M; Goemaere, E; Kunene, J; Kerschberger, B; Ford, N; Boulle, A; Van Cutsem, G (Health and Medicine Publishing Group, 2013-12)
    • Impact and programmatic implications of routine viral load monitoring in Swaziland

      Jobanputra, Kiran; Parker, Lucy Anne; Azih, Charles; Okello, Velephi; Maphalala, Gugu; Jouquet, Guillaume; Kerschberger, Bernhard; Mekeidje, Calorine; Cyr, Joanne; Mafikudze, Arnold; et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014-05-28)
      To assess the programmatic quality (coverage of testing, counselling and retesting), cost, and outcomes (viral suppression, treatment decisions), of routine viral load (VL) monitoring in Swaziland.
    • Mother to Mother (M2M) peer support for women in prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programmes: a qualitative study

      Shroufi, Amir; Mafara, Emma; Saint-Sauveur, Jean François; Taziwa, Fabian; Viñoles, Mari Carmen; Médecins Sans Frontières, Operational Centre Barcelona-Athens, Belgravia, Harare, Zimbabwe (Public Library of Science, 2013-06-05)
      Introduction Mother-to-Mother (M2M) or “Mentor Mother” programmes utilise HIV positive mothers to provide support and advice to HIV positive pregnant women and mothers of HIV exposed babies. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supported a Mentor Mother programme in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2012; with programme beneficiaries observed to have far higher retention at 6–8 weeks (99% vs 50%, p<0.0005) and to have higher adherence to Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) guidelines, compared to those not opting in. In this study we explore how the M2M progamme may have contributed to these findings. Methods In this qualitative study we used thematic analysis of in-depth interviews (n = 79). This study was conducted in 2 urban districts of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. Results Interviews were completed by 14 mentor mothers, 10 mentor mother family members, 30 beneficiaries (women enrolled both in PMTCT and M2M), 10 beneficiary family members, 5 women enrolled in PMTCT but who had declined to take part in the M2M programme and 10 health care staff members. All beneficiaries and health care staff reported that the programme had improved retention and provided rich information on how this was achieved. Additionally respondents described how the programme had helped bring about beneficial behaviour change. Conclusions M2M programmes offer great potential to empower communities affected by HIV to catalyse positive behaviour change. Our results illustrate how M2M involvement may increase retention in PMTCT programmes. Non-disclosure to one’s partner, as well as some cultural practices prevalent in Zimbabwe appear to be major barriers to participation in M2M programmes.
    • A qualitative assessment of a community antiretroviral therapy group model in Tete, Mozambique

      Rasschaert, Freya; Telfer, Barbara; Lessitala, Faustino; Decroo, Tom; Remartinez, Daniel; Biot, Marc; Candrinho, Baltazar; Mbofana, Francisco; Van Damme, Wim (Public Library of Science, 2014-03-20)
      To improve retention on ART, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Ministry of Health and patients piloted a community-based antiretroviral distribution and adherence monitoring model through Community ART Groups (CAG) in Tete, Mozambique. By December 2012, almost 6000 patients on ART had formed groups of whom 95.7% were retained in care. We conducted a qualitative study to evaluate the relevance, dynamic and impact of the CAG model on patients, their communities and the healthcare system.
    • Task-Sharing of HIV Care and ART Initiation: Evaluation of a Mixed-Care Non-Physician Provider Model for ART Delivery in Rural Malawi

      McGuire, Megan; Ben Farhat, Jihane; Pedrono, Gaelle; Szumilin, Elisabeth; Heinzelmann, Annette; Chinyumba, Yamikani Ntakwile; Goossens, Sylvie; Makombe, Simon; Pujades-Rodríguez, Mar (2013-09-16)
      Background: Expanding access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa requires implementation of alternative care delivery models to traditional physician-centered approaches. This longitudinal analysis compares outcomes of patients initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART) by non-physician and physician providers. Methods: Adults (≥15 years) initiating ART between September 2007 and March 2010, and with >1 follow-up visit were included and classified according to the proportion of clinical visits performed by nurses or by clinical officers(≥80% of visits). Multivariable Poisson models were used to compare 2-year program attrition (mortality and lost to follow-up) and mortality by type of provider. In sensitivity analyses only patients with less severe disease were included. Results: A total of 10,112 patients contributed 14,012 person-years to the analysis: 3386 (33.5%) in the clinical officer group, 1901 (18.8%) in the nurse care group and 4825 (47.7%) in the mixed care group. Overall 2-year program retention was 81.8%. Attrition was lower in the mixed care and higher in the clinical officer group, compared to the nurse group (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR]=0.54, 95%CI 0.45-0.65; and aIRR=3.03, 95%CI 2.56-3.59,respectively). While patients initiated on ART by clinical officers in the mixed care group had lower attrition(aIRR=0.36, 95%CI 0.29-0.44) than those in the overall nurse care group; no differences in attrition were found between patients initiated on ART by nurses in the mixed care group and those included in the nurse group (aIRR=1.18, 95%CI 0.95-1.47). Two-year mortality estimates were aIRR=0.72, 95%CI 0.49-1.09 and aIRR=5.04,95%CI 3.56-7.15, respectively. Slightly higher estimates were observed when analyses were restricted to patients with less severe disease. Conclusion: The findings of this study support the use of a mixed care model with well trained and regularly supervised nurses and medical assistants to provide HIV care in countries with high HIV prevalence.
    • A three-tier framework for monitoring antiretroviral therapy in high HIV burden settings

      Osler, Meg; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Hennessey, Claudine; Arendse, Juanita; Goemaere, Eric; Ford, Nathan; Boulle, Andrew (International AIDS Society, 2014-04)
      The provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low and middle-income countries is a chronic disease intervention of unprecedented magnitude and is the dominant health systems challenge for high-burden countries, many of which rank among the poorest in the world. Substantial external investment, together with the requirement for service evolution to adapt to changing needs, including the constant shift to earlier ART initiation, makes outcome monitoring and reporting particularly important. However, there is growing concern at the inability of many high-burden countries to report on the outcomes of patients who have been in care for various durations, or even the number of patients in care at a particular point in time. In many instances, countries can only report on the number of patients ever started on ART. Despite paper register systems coming under increasing strain, the evolution from paper directly to complex electronic medical record solutions is not viable in many contexts. Implementing a bridging solution, such as a simple offline electronic version of the paper register, can be a pragmatic alternative. This paper describes and recommends a three-tiered monitoring approach in low- and middle-income countries based on the experience implementing such a system in the Western Cape province of South Africa. A three-tier approach allows Ministries of Health to strategically implement one of the tiers in each facility offering ART services. Each tier produces the same nationally required monthly enrolment and quarterly cohort reports so that outputs from the three tiers can be aggregated into a single database at any level of the health system. The choice of tier is based on context and resources at the time of implementation. As resources and infrastructure improve, more facilities will transition to the next highest and more technologically sophisticated tier. Implementing a three-tier monitoring system at country level for pre-antiretroviral wellness, ART, tuberculosis and mother and child health services can be an efficient approach to ensuring system-wide harmonization and accurate monitoring of services, including long term retention in care, during the scale-up of electronic monitoring solutions.