Rapid Scale-up of Antiretroviral Therapy at Primary Care Sites in Zambia

Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 08/2006; 296(7):782-93. DOI: 10.1001/jama.296.7.782
Source: PubMed


The Zambian Ministry of Health has scaled-up human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) care and treatment services at primary care clinics in Lusaka, using predominately nonphysician clinicians.
To report on the feasibility and early outcomes of the program.
Open cohort evaluation of antiretroviral-naive adults treated at 18 primary care facilities between April 26, 2004, and November 5, 2005. Data were entered in real time into an electronic patient tracking system.
Those meeting criteria for antiretroviral therapy (ART) received drugs according to Zambian national guidelines.
Survival, regimen failure rates, and CD4 cell response.
We enrolled 21,755 adults into HIV care, and 16,198 (75%) started ART. Among those starting ART, 9864 (61%) were women. Of 15,866 patients with documented World Health Organization (WHO) staging, 11,573 (73%) were stage III or IV, and the mean (SD) entry CD4 cell count among the 15,336 patients with a baseline result was 143/microL (123/microL). Of 1142 patients receiving ART who died, 1120 had a reliable date of death. Of these patients, 792 (71%) died within 90 days of starting therapy (early mortality rate: 26 per 100 patient-years), and 328 (29%) died after 90 days (post-90-day mortality rate: 5.0 per 100 patient-years). In multivariable analysis, mortality was strongly associated with CD4 cell count between 50/microL and 199/microL (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-2.0), CD4 cell count less than 50/microL (AHR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5-3.1), WHO stage III disease (AHR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.4), WHO stage IV disease (AHR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.0-4.3), low body mass index (<16; AHR,2.4; 95% CI, 1.8-3.2), severe anemia (<8.0 g/dL; AHR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.3-4.0), and poor adherence to therapy (AHR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.2-3.9). Of 11,714 patients at risk, 861 failed therapy by clinical criteria (rate, 13 per 100 patient-years). The mean (SD) CD4 cell count increase was 175/microL (174/microL) in 1361 of 1519 patients (90%) receiving treatment long enough to have a 12-month repeat.
Massive scale-up of HIV and AIDS treatment services with good clinical outcomes is feasible in primary care settings in sub-Saharan Africa. Most mortality occurs early, suggesting that earlier diagnosis and treatment may improve outcomes.

Download full-text


Available from: Jeffrey S Stringer, Jul 30, 2014
  • Source
    • "Thirdly, the country has been a recipient of large amounts of dedicated funding for health system strengthening and HIV interventions since the mid-2000s [6,43]. Funding increased dramatically in 2004 when PEPFAR started disbursing funds to Zambia and by 2006, the amount dedicated to HIV and AIDS programmes almost equalled total health budget per capita [44]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background The rapid evolution in disease burdens in low- and middle income countries is forcing policy makers to re-orient their health system towards a system which has the capability to simultaneously address infectious and non-communicable diseases. This paper draws on two different but overlapping studies which examined how actors in the Zambian health system are re-directing their policies, strategies and service structures to include the provision of health care for people with chronic conditions. Methods Study methods in both studies included semi-structured interviews with government health officials at national level, and governmental and non-governmental health practitioners operating from community-, primary health care to hospital facility level. Focus group discussions were conducted with staff, stakeholders and caregivers of programmes providing care and support at community- and household levels. Study settings included urban and rural sites. Results A series of adaptations transformed the HIV programme from an emergency response into the first large chronic care programme in the country. There are clear indications that the Zambian government is intending to expand this reach to patients with non-communicable diseases. Challenges to do this effectively include a lack of proper NCD prevalence data for planning, a concentration of technology and skills to detect and treat NCDs at secondary and tertiary levels in the health system and limited interest by donor agencies to support this transition. Conclusion The reorientation of Zambia’s health system is in full swing and uses the foundation of a decentralised health system and presence of local models for HIV chronic care which actively involve community partners, patients and their families. There are early warning signs which could cause this transition to stall, one of which is the financial capability to resource this process.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
  • Source
    • "The setting for this analysis was the Zambian national program for HIV care and treatment, implemented in April 2004 [3,17]. We constructed competing Markov models to assess the circumstances under which the cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted resulting from the addition of a nutrition supplement for 6 months as an adjunct to ART treatment would be equally or more cost-effective than standard treatment with ART. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Low body mass index (BMI) individuals starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa have high rates of death and loss to follow-up in the first 6 months of treatment. Nutritional supplementation may improve health outcomes in this population, but the anticipated benefit of any intervention should be commensurate with the cost given resource limitations and the need to expand access to ART in the region. Methods We used Markov models incorporating historical data and program-wide estimates of treatment costs and health benefits from the Zambian national ART program to estimate the improvements in 6-month survival and program retention among malnourished adults necessary for a combined nutrition support and ART treatment program to maintain cost-effectiveness parity with ART treatment alone. Patients were stratified according to World Health Organization criteria for severe (BMI <16.0 kg/m2), moderate (16.00-16.99 kg/m2), and mild (17.00-18.49 kg/m2) malnutrition categories. Results 19,247 patients contributed data between May 2004 and October 2010. Quarterly survival and retention were lowest in the BMI <16.0 kg/m2 category compared to higher BMI levels, and there was less variation in both measures across BMI strata after 180 days. ART treatment was estimated to cost $556 per year and averted 7.3 disability-adjusted life years. To maintain cost-effectiveness parity with ART alone, a supplement needed to cost $10.99 per quarter and confer a 20% reduction in both 6-month mortality and loss to follow-up among BMI <16.0 kg/m2 patients. Among BMI 17.00-18.49 kg/m2 patients, supplement costs accompanying a 20% reduction in mortality and loss to follow-up could not exceed $5.18 per quarter. In sensitivity analyses, the maximum permitted supplement cost increased if the ART program cost rose, and fell if patients classified as lost to follow-up at 6 months subsequently returned to care. Conclusions Low BMI adults starting ART in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk of early mortality and loss to follow-up. The expense of providing nutrition supplementation would require only modest improvements in survival and program retention to be cost-effective for the most severely malnourished individuals starting ART, but interventions are unlikely to be cost-effective among those in higher BMI strata.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
  • Source
    • "As treatment scale up continues, and as the Government of Zambia considers further guidelines changes that could expand ART eligibility even more or affect the quality of care for patients already on ART, information about the actual care provided to patients after initiating ART in Zambia can help guide decision making. Published papers have reported on the positive clinical and programmatic outcomes for patients initiating ART in Zambia [6,7] and on the costs of providing ART in Zambia [8,9], but no published papers have described both the actual care provided by the public sector clinics and hospitals that serve the vast majority of patients and the associated costs at the patient level. Our objective was to estimate retention in care, the quantity of resources utilized, and costs for adults initiating treatment under routine clinical conditions in Zambia. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Of the estimated 800,000 adults living with HIV in Zambia in 2011, roughly half were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). As treatment scale up continues, information on the care provided to patients after initiating ART can help guide decision-making. We estimated retention in care, the quantity of resources utilized, and costs for a retrospective cohort of adults initiating ART under routine clinical conditions in Zambia. Data on resource utilization (antiretroviral [ARV] and non-ARV drugs, laboratory tests, outpatient clinic visits, and fixed resources) and retention in care were extracted from medical records for 846 patients who initiated ART at >=15 years of age at six treatment sites between July 2007 and October 2008. Unit costs were estimated from the provider's perspective using site- and country-level data and are reported in 2011 USD. Patients initiated ART at a median CD4 cell count of 145 cells/muL. Fifty-nine percent of patients initiated on a tenofovir-containing regimen, ranging from 15% to 86% depending on site. One year after ART initiation, 75% of patients were retained in care. The average cost per patient retained in care one year after ART initiation was $243 (95% CI, $194-$293), ranging from $184 (95% CI, $172-$195) to $304 (95% CI, $290-$319) depending on site. Patients retained in care one year after ART initiation received, on average, 11.4 months' worth of ARV drugs, 1.5 CD4 tests, 1.3 blood chemistry tests, 1.4 full blood count tests, and 6.5 clinic visits with a doctor or clinical officer. At all sites, ARV drugs were the largest cost component, ranging from 38% to 84% of total costs, depending on site. Patients initiate ART late in the course of disease progression and a large proportion drop out of care after initiation. The quantity of resources utilized and costs vary widely by site, and patients utilize a different mix of resources under routine clinical conditions than if they were receiving fully guideline-concordant care. Improving retention in care and guideline concordance, including increasing the use of tenofovir in first-line ART regimens, may lead to increases in overall treatment costs.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Public Health
Show more