Integrating HIV treatment with primary care outpatient services: Opportunities and challenges from a scaled-up model in Zambia

Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia, Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia and Lusaka District Health Management Board, Lusaka, Zambia.
Health Policy and Planning (Impact Factor: 3.47). 07/2012; 28(4). DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czs065
Source: PubMed


Background Integration of HIV treatment with other primary care services has been argued to potentially improve effectiveness, efficiency and equity. However, outside the field of reproductive health, there is limited empirical evidence regarding the scope or depth of integrated HIV programmes or their relative benefits. Moreover, the body of work describing operational models of integrated service-delivery in context remains thin. Between 2008 and 2011, the Lusaka District Health Management Team piloted and scaled-up a model of integrated HIV and general outpatient department (OPD) services in 12 primary health care clinics. This paper examines the effect of the integrated model on the organization of clinic services, and explores service providers’ perceptions of the integrated model.
Methods We used a mixed methods approach incorporating facility surveys and key informant interviews with clinic managers and district officials. On-site facility surveys were carried out in 12 integrated facilities to collect data on the scope of integrated services, and 15 semi-structured interviews were carried out with 12 clinic managers and three district officials to explore strengths and weaknesses of the model. Quantitative and qualitative data were triangulated to inform overall analysis.
Findings Implementation of the integrated model substantially changed the organization of service delivery across a range of clinic systems. Organizational and managerial advantages were identified, including more efficient use of staff time and clinic space, improved teamwork and accountability, and more equitable delivery of care to HIV and non-HIV patients. However, integration did not solve ongoing human resource shortages or inadequate infrastructure, which limited the efficacy of the model and were perceived to undermine service delivery.
Conclusion While resource and allocative efficiencies are associated with this model of integration, a more important finding was the model’s demonstrated potential for strengthening organizational culture and staff relationships, in turn facilitating more collaborative and motivated service delivery in chronically under-resourced primary healthcare clinics.

Download full-text


Available from: Stewart E Reid, Mar 22, 2014
  • Source
    • "Given that providers were interviewed one year after FP/HIV integration began, the challenges associated with implementing new protocols may have been more acutely felt. Further research is needed to evaluate how to address obstacles like human resource shortages in order to capitalize on the service delivery efficiencies that can be produced by integration efforts (Deo et al., 2012; Topp et al., 2013) and that could be especially beneficial in resource-constrained settings. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: With high rates of unintended pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa, integration of family planning (FP) into HIV care is being explored as a strategy to reduce unmet need for contraception. Perspectives and experiences of healthcare providers are critical in order to create sustainable models of integrated care. This qualitative study offers insight into how HIV care providers view and experience the benefits and challenges of providing integrated FP/HIV services in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Sixteen individual interviews were conducted among healthcare workers at six public sector HIV care facilities one year after the implementation of integrated FP and HIV services. Data were transcribed and analyzed qualitatively using grounded theory methods and Atlas.ti. Providers reported a number of benefits of integrated services that they believed increased the uptake and continuation of contraceptive methods. They felt that integrated services enabled them to reach a larger number of female and male patients and in a more efficient way for patients compared to non-integrated services. Availability of FP services in the same place as HIV care also eliminated the need for most referrals, which many providers saw as a barrier for patients seeking FP. Providers reported many challenges to providing integrated services, including the lack of space, time, and sufficient staff, inadequate training, and commodity shortages. Despite these challenges, the vast majority of providers was supportive of FP/HIV integration and found integrated services to be beneficial to HIV-infected patients. Providers' concerns relating to staffing, infrastructure, and training need to be addressed in order to create sustainable, cost-effective FP/HIV integrated service models.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · AIDS Care
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction Building on earlier works demonstrating the effectiveness and acceptability of provider-initiated counselling and testing (PITC) services in integrated outpatient departments of urban primary healthcare clinics (PHCs), this study seeks to understand the relative utility of PITC services for identifying clients with early-stage HIV-related disease compared to traditional voluntary testing and counselling (VCT) services. We additionally seek to determine whether there are any significant differences in the clinical and demographic profile of PITC and VCT clients. Methods Routinely collected, de-identified data were collated from two cohorts of HIV-positive patients referred for HIV treatment, either from PITC or VCT in seven urban-integrated PHCs. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to compare the two cohorts across demographic and clinical characteristics at enrolment. Results Forty-five per cent of clients diagnosed via PITC had CD4<200, and more than 70% (i.e. two thirds) had CD4<350 at enrolment, with significantly lower CD4 counts than that of VCT clients (p<0.001). PITC clients were more likely to be male (p=0.0005) and less likely to have secondary or tertiary education (p<0.0001). Among those who were initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART), PITC clients had lower odds of initiating treatment within four weeks of enrolment into HIV care (adjusted odds ratio, or AOR: 0.86; 95% confidence interval, or CI: 0.75–0.99; p=0.035) and significantly lower odds of retention in care at six months (AOR: 0.84; CI: 0.77–0.99; p=0.004). Conclusions In Lusaka, Zambia, large numbers of individuals with late-stage HIV are being incidentally diagnosed in outpatient settings. Our findings suggest that PITC in this setting does not facilitate more timely diagnosis and referral to care but rather act as a “safety net” for individuals who are unwilling or unable to seek testing independently. Further work is needed to document the way provision of clinic-based services can be strengthened and linked to community-based interventions and to address socio-cultural norms and socio-economic status that underpin healthcare-seeking behaviour.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The promise of combination HIV prevention-the application of multiple HIV prevention interventions to maximise population-level effects-has never been greater. However, to succeed in achieving significant reductions in HIV incidence, an additional concept needs to be considered: combination implementation. Combination implementation for HIV prevention is the pragmatic, localised application of evidence-based strategies to enable high sustained uptake and quality of interventions for prevention of HIV. In this Review, we explore diverse implementation strategies including HIV testing and counselling models, task shifting, linkage to and retention in care, antiretroviral therapy support, behaviour change, demand creation, and structural interventions, and discusses how they could be used to complement HIV prevention efforts such as medical male circumcision and treatment as prevention. HIV prevention and treatment have arrived at a pivotal moment when combination efforts might result in substantial enough population-level effects to reverse the epidemic and drive towards elimination of HIV. Only through careful consideration of how to implement and operationalise HIV prevention interventions will the HIV community be able to move from clinical trial evidence to population-level effects.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Show more