Only about one-third of eligible HIV/AIDS patients receive anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Decentralizing treatment is crucial to wider and more equitable access, but key obstacles are a shortage of trained healthcare workers (HCW) and challenges integrating HIV/AIDS care with other primary care. This report describes the development of a guideline and training program (PALM PLUS) designed to integrate HIV/AIDS care with other primary care in Malawi. PALM PLUS was adapted from PALSA PLUS, developed in South Africa, and targets middle-cadre HCWs (clinical officers, nurses, and medical assistants). We adapted it to align with Malawi's national treatment protocols, more varied healthcare workforce, and weaker health system infrastructure.
The international research team included the developers of the PALSA PLUS program, key Malawi-based team members and personnel from national and district level Ministry of Health (MoH), professional associations, and an international non-governmental organization. The PALSA PLUS guideline was extensively revised based on Malawi national disease-specific guidelines. Advice and input was sought from local clinical experts, including middle-cadre personnel, as well as Malawi MoH personnel and representatives of Malawian professional associations.
An integrated guideline adapted to Malawian protocols for adults with respiratory conditions, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other primary care conditions was developed. The training program was adapted to Malawi's health system and district-level supervision structure. PALM PLUS is currently being piloted in a cluster-randomized trial in health centers in Malawi (ISRCTN47805230).
The PALM PLUS guideline and training intervention targets primary care middle-cadre HCWs with the objective of improving HCW satisfaction and retention, and the quality of patient care. Successful adaptations are feasible, even across health systems as different as those of South Africa and Malawi.
In low-income countries, only about a third of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients eligible for anti-retroviral treatment currently receive it. Providing decentralized treatment close to where patients live is crucial to a faster scale up, however, a key obstacle is limited health system capacity due to a shortage of trained health-care workers and challenges of integrating HIV/AIDS care with other primary care services (e.g. tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory conditions). This study will test an adapted primary care health care worker training and guideline intervention, Practical Approach to Lung Health and HIV/AIDS Malawi (PALM PLUS), on staff retention and satisfaction, and quality of patient care.
A cluster-randomized trial design is being used to compare usual care with a standardized clinical guideline and training intervention, PALM PLUS. The intervention targets middle-cadre health care workers (nurses, clinical officers, medical assistants) in 30 rural primary care health centres in a single district in Malawi. PALM PLUS is an integrated, symptom-based and user-friendly guideline consistent with Malawian national treatment protocols. Training is standardized and based on an educational outreach approach. Trainers will be front-line peer healthcare workers trained to provide outreach training and support to their fellow front-line healthcare workers during focused (1-2 hours), intermittent, interactive sessions on-site in health centers. Primary outcomes are health care worker retention and satisfaction. Secondary outcomes are clinical outcomes measured at the health centre level for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission of HIV and other primary care conditions. Effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals for outcomes will be presented. Assessment of outcomes will occur at 1 year post- implementation.
The PALM PLUS trial aims to address a key problem: strengthening middle-cadre health care workers to support the broader scale up of HIV/AIDS services and their integration into primary care. The trial will test whether the PALM PLUS intervention improves staff satisfaction and retention, as well as the quality of patient care, when compared to usual practice.
Current controlled Trials: ISRCTN47805230
Preparing health workers to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic is an urgent challenge in Haiti, where the HIV prevalence rate is 2.2% and approximately 10 100 people are taking antiretroviral treatment. There is a critical shortage of doctors in Haiti, leaving nurses as the primary care providers for much of the population. Haiti's approximately 1000 nurses play a leading role in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. However, nurses do not receive sufficient training at the pre-service level to carry out this important work.
To address this issue, the Ministry of Health and Population collaborated with the International Training and Education Center on HIV over a period of 12 months to create a competency-based HIV/AIDS curriculum to be integrated into the 4-year baccalaureate programme of the four national schools of nursing.
Using a review of the international health and education literature on HIV/AIDS competencies and various models of curriculum development, a Haiti-based curriculum committee developed expected HIV/AIDS competencies for graduating nurses and then drafted related learning objectives. The committee then mapped these learning objectives to current courses in the nursing curriculum and created an 'HIV/AIDS Teaching Guide' for faculty on how to integrate and achieve these objectives within their current courses. The curriculum committee also created an 'HIV/AIDS Reference Manual' that detailed the relevant HIV/AIDS content that should be taught for each course.
All nursing students will now need to demonstrate competency in HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, skills and attitudes during periodic assessment with direct observation of the student performing authentic tasks. Faculty will have the responsibility of developing exercises to address the required objectives and creating assessment tools to demonstrate that their graduates have met the objectives. This activity brought different administrators, nurse leaders and faculty from four geographically dispersed nursing schools to collaborate on a shared goal using a process that could be easily replicated to integrate any new topic in a resource-constrained pre-service institution. It is hoped that this experience provided stakeholders with the experience, skills and motivation to strengthen other domains of the pre-service nursing curriculum, improve the synchronization of didactic and practical training and develop standardized, competency-based examinations for nursing licensure in Haiti.
A major barrier to accessing free government-provided antiretroviral treatment (ART) in South Africa is the shortage of suitably skilled health professionals. Current South African guidelines recommend that only doctors should prescribe ART, even though most primary care is provided by nurses. We have developed an effective method of educational outreach to primary care nurses in South Africa. Evidence is needed as to whether primary care nurses, with suitable training and managerial support, can initiate and continue to prescribe and monitor ART in the majority of ART-eligible adults.
This is a protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a complex intervention based on and supporting nurse-led antiretroviral treatment (ART) for South African patients with HIV/AIDS, compared to current practice in which doctors are responsible for initiating ART and continuing prescribing. We will randomly allocate 31 primary care clinics in the Free State province to nurse-led or doctor-led ART. Two groups of patients aged 16 years and over will be included: a) 7400 registering with the programme with CD4 counts of ≤ 350 cells/mL (mainly to evaluate treatment initiation) and b) 4900 already receiving ART (to evaluate ongoing treatment and monitoring). The primary outcomes will be time to death (in the first group) and viral suppression (in the second group). Patients' survival, viral load and health status indicators will be measured at least 6-monthly for at least one year and up to 2 years, using an existing province-wide clinical database linked to the national death register.
Controlled Clinical Trials ISRCTN46836853
Shortages of health workers are obstacles to utilising global health initiative (GHI) funds effectively in Africa. This paper reports and analyses two countries' health workforce responses during a period of large increases in GHI funds.
Health facility record reviews were conducted in 52 facilities in Malawi and 39 facilities in Zambia in 2006/07 and 2008; quarterly totals from the last quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2008 inclusive in Malawi; and annual totals for 2004 to 2007 inclusive in Zambia. Topic-guided interviews were conducted with facility and district managers in both countries, and with health workers in Malawi.
Facility data confirm significant scale-up in HIV/AIDS service delivery in both countries. In Malawi, this was supported by a large increase in lower trained cadres and only a modest increase in clinical staff numbers. Routine outpatient workload fell in urban facilities, in rural health centres and in facilities not providing antiretroviral treatment (ART), while it increased at district hospitals and in facilities providing ART. In Zambia, total staff and clinical staff numbers stagnated between 2004 and 2007. In rural areas, outpatient workload, which was higher than at urban facilities, increased further. Key informants described the effects of increased workloads in both countries and attributed staff migration from public health facilities to non-government facilities in Zambia to PEPFAR.
Malawi, which received large levels of GHI funding from only the Global Fund, managed to increase facility staff across all levels of the health system: urban, district and rural health facilities, supported by task-shifting to lower trained staff. The more complex GHI arena in Zambia, where both Global Fund and PEPFAR provided large levels of support, may have undermined a coordinated national workforce response to addressing health worker shortages, leading to a less effective response in rural areas.
Robust evidence of the effectiveness of task shifting of antiretroviral therapy (ART) from doctors to other health workers is scarce. We aimed to assess the effects on mortality, viral suppression, and other health outcomes and quality indicators of the Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV (STRETCH) programme, which provides educational outreach training of nurses to initiate and represcribe ART, and to decentralise care.
We undertook a pragmatic, parallel, cluster-randomised trial in South Africa between Jan 28, 2008, and June 30, 2010. We randomly assigned 31 primary-care ART clinics to implement the STRETCH programme (intervention group) or to continue with standard care (control group). The ratio of randomisation depended on how many clinics were in each of nine strata. Two cohorts were enrolled: eligible patients in cohort 1 were adults (aged ≥16 years) with CD4 counts of 350 cells per μL or less who were not receiving ART; those in cohort 2 were adults who had already received ART for at least 6 months and were being treated at enrolment. The primary outcome in cohort 1 was time to death (superiority analysis). The primary outcome in cohort 2 was the proportion with undetectable viral loads (<400 copies per mL) 12 months after enrolment (equivalence analysis, prespecified difference <6%). Patients and clinicians could not be masked to group assignment. The interim analysis was blind, but data analysts were not masked after the database was locked for final analysis. Analyses were done by intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN46836853.
5390 patients in cohort 1 and 3029 in cohort 2 were in the intervention group, and 3862 in cohort 1 and 3202 in cohort 2 were in the control group. Median follow-up was 16·3 months (IQR 12·2–18·0) in cohort 1 and 18·0 months (18·0–18·0) in cohort 2. In cohort 1, 997 (20%) of 4943 patients analysed in the intervention group and 747 (19%) of 3862 in the control group with known vital status at the end of the trial had died. Time to death did not differ (hazard ratio [HR] 0·94, 95% CI 0·76–1·15). In a preplanned subgroup analysis of patients with baseline CD4 counts of 201–350 cells per μL, mortality was slightly lower in the intervention group than in the control group (0·73, 0·54–1.00; p=0·052), but it did not differ between groups in patients with baseline CD4 of 200 cells per μL or less (0·94, 0·76–1·15; p=0·577). In cohort 2, viral load suppression 12 months after enrolment was equivalent in intervention (2156 [71%] of 3029 patients) and control groups (2230 [70%] of 3202; risk difference 1·1%, 95% CI −2·4 to 4·6).
Expansion of primary-care nurses' roles to include ART initiation and represcription can be done safely, and improve health outcomes and quality of care, but might not reduce time to ART or mortality.
UK Medical Research Council, Development Cooperation Ireland, and Canadian International Development Agency.
In parallel with the rollout of Botswana’s national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, the Botswana Ministry of Health established the KITSO AIDS Training Program by entering into long-term partnerships with the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership for HIV Research and Education and others to provide standardized, country-specific training in HIV/AIDS care. The KITSO training model has strengthened human capacity within Botswana’s health sector and been indispensable to successful ART rollout. Through core and advanced training courses and clinical mentoring, different cadres of health care workers have been trained to provide high-quality HIV/AIDS care at all ART sites in the country. Continuous and standardized clinical education will be crucial to sustain the present level of care and successfully address future treatment challenges.
To examine the changes in clients' health-care ratings before and after hospital workers received an HIV prevention intervention in Malawi, which increased the workers' personal and work-related HIV prevention knowledge, attitudes and preventive behaviors.
Pre- and post-intervention client surveys.
A large urban referral hospital in Malawi.
Clients at purposefully selected inpatient and outpatient units on designated days (baseline, n = 310 clients; final, n = 683).
Ten-session peer-group intervention for health workers focused on HIV transmission, personal and work-related prevention, treating clients and families respectfully and incorporating HIV-related teaching.
Main Outcome Measures
Brief face-to-face clients' interview obtaining ratings of confidentiality of HIV, whether HIV-related teaching occurred and ratings of service quality.
Compared with baseline, at the final survey, clients reported higher confidence about confidentiality of clients' HIV status (83 vs. 75%, P < 0.01) and more clients reported that a health worker talked to them about HIV and AIDS (37 versus 28%, P< 0.01). More clients rated overall health services as ‘very good’ (five-item mean rating, 68 versus 59%, P< 0.01) and this was true for both inpatients and outpatients examined separately. However, there was no improvement in ratings of the courtesy of laboratory or pharmacy workers or of the adequacy of treatment instructions in the pharmacy.
HIV prevention training for health workers can have positive effects on clients' ratings of services, including HIV-related confidentiality and teaching, and should be scaled-up throughout Malawi and in other similar countries. Hospitals need to improve laboratory and pharmacy services.
patient satisfaction; HIV; intervention studies; health personnel; Malawi
Pneumonia is a leading cause of death among children under five years of age. The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy can improve the quality of care for pneumonia and other common illnesses in developing countries, but adherence to these guidelines could be improved. We evaluated an intervention in Benin to support health worker adherence to the guidelines after training, focusing on pneumonia case management.
We conducted a randomized trial. After a health facility survey in 1999 to assess health care quality before Integrated Management of Childhood Illness training, health workers received training plus either study supports (job aids, non-financial incentives and supervision of workers and supervisors) or "usual" supports. Follow-up surveys were conducted in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Outcomes were indicators of health care quality for Integrated Management-defined pneumonia. Further analyses included a graphical pathway analysis and multivariable logistic regression modelling to identify factors influencing case-management quality.
We observed 301 consultations of children with non-severe pneumonia that were performed by 128 health workers in 88 public and private health facilities. Although outcomes improved in both intervention and control groups, we found no statistically significant difference between groups. However, training proceeded slowly, and low-quality care from untrained health workers diluted intervention effects. Per-protocol analyses suggested that health workers with training plus study supports performed better than those with training plus usual supports (20.4 and 19.2 percentage-point improvements for recommended treatment [p = 0.08] and "recommended or adequate" treatment [p = 0.01], respectively). Both groups tended to perform better than untrained health workers. Analyses of treatment errors revealed that incomplete assessment and difficulties processing clinical findings led to missed pneumonia diagnoses, and missed diagnoses led to inadequate treatment. Increased supervision frequency was associated with better care (odds ratio for recommended treatment = 2.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.1-3.9] per additional supervisory visit).
Integrated Management of Childhood Illness training was useful, but insufficient, to achieve high-quality pneumonia case management. Our study supports led to additional improvements, although large gaps in performance still remained. A simple graphical pathway analysis can identify specific, common errors that health workers make in the case-management process; this information could be used to target quality improvement activities, such as supervision (ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00510679).
Malawi has one of the world's lowest densities of Health Care Workers (HCW) per capita. This study evaluates outcomes of a dedicated HCW HIV clinic in Malawi, created at Zomba Central Hospital in January 2007.
Methods and Findings
Retrospective cohort data was analyzed comparing HCW clinic patient baseline characteristics and treatment outcomes at 18 months after inception, against those attending the general HIV clinic. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to explore perceptions of patients and caregivers regarding program value, level of awareness and barriers for uptake amongst HCW. 306 patients were enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the HCW HIV clinic, 6784 in the general clinic. Significantly (p<0.01) more HCW clients were initiated on ART on the basis of CD4 as opposed to WHO Stage 3/4 (36% vs.23%). Significantly fewer HCW clients defaulted (6% vs.17%), and died (4% vs.12%). The dedicated HCW HIV clinic was perceived as important and convenient in terms of reduced waiting times, and prompt and high quality care. Improved confidentiality was an appreciated quality of the HCW clinic however barriers included fear of being recognized.
Outcomes at the HCW clinic appear better compared to the general HIV clinic. The strategy of dedicated clinics to care for health providers is a means of HIV impact mitigation within human resource constrained health systems in high prevalence settings.
Objective To investigate whether PALSA PLUS, an on-site educational outreach programme of non-didactic, case based, iterative clinical education of staff, led by a trainer, can increase access to and comprehensiveness of care for patients with HIV/AIDS.
Design Cluster randomised trial.
Setting Public primary care clinics offering HIV/AIDS care, antiretroviral treatment (ART), tuberculosis care, and ambulatory primary care in Free State province, South Africa.
Participants Fifteen clinics all implementing decentralisation and task shifting were randomised. The clinics cared for 400 000 general primary care patients and 10 136 patients in an HIV/AIDS/ART programme. There were 150 nurses.
Intervention On-site outreach education in eight clinics; no such education in seven (control).
Main outcome measures Provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis among patients referred to the HIV/AIDS/ART programme, and detection of cases of tuberculosis among those in the programme. Proportion of patients in the programme enrolled through general primary care consultations.
Results Patients referred to the HIV/AIDS programme through general primary care at intervention clinics were more likely than those at control clinics to receive co-trimoxazole prophylaxis (41%, (2253/5523) v 32% (1340/4210); odds ratio 1.95, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 3.40), and tuberculosis was more likely to be diagnosed among patients with HIV/AIDS/ART (7% (417/5793) v 6% (245/4343); 1.25, 1.01 to 1.55). Enrolment in the HIV/AIDS and ART programme through HIV testing in general primary care was not significantly increased (53% v 50%; 1.19, 0.51 to 2.77). Secondary outcomes were similar, except for weight gain, which was higher in the intervention group (2.3 kg v 1.9 kg, P<0.001).
Conclusion Though outreach education is an effective and feasible strategy for improving comprehensiveness of care and wellbeing of patients with HIV/AIDS, there is no evidence that it increases access to the ART programme. It is now being widely implemented in South Africa.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 24820584.
Different models exist to provide HIV/STI services for most-at-risk populations (MARP). Along the Tete traffic corridor in Mozambique, linking Malawi and Zimbabwe, a night clinic opening between 4 and 10 PM was established targeting female sex workers (FSW) and long-distance truck drivers (LDD). The clinic offers free individual education and counselling, condoms, STI care, HIV testing, contraceptive services and outreach peer education. To evaluate this clinic model, we assessed relevance, service utilisation, efficiency and sustainability.
In 2007-2009, mapping and enumeration of FSW and LDD was conducted; 28 key informants were interviewed; 6 focus group discussions (FGD) were held with FSW from Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and LDD from Mozambique and Malawi. Clinic outputs and costs were analysed.
An estimated 4,415 FSW work in the area, or 9% of women aged 15-49, and on average 66 trucks stay overnight near the clinic. Currently on average, 475 clients/month visit the clinic (43% for contraception, 24% for counselling and testing and 23% for STI care). The average clinic running cost is US$ 1408/month, mostly for human resources. All informants endorsed this clinic concept and the need to expand the services. FGD participants reported high satisfaction with the services and mentioned good reception by the health staff, short waiting times, proximity and free services as most important. Participants were in favour of expanding the range of services, the geographical coverage and the opening times.
Size of the target population, satisfaction of clients and endorsement by health policy makers justify maintaining a separate clinic for MARP. Cost-effectiveness may be enhanced by broadening the range of SRHR-HIV/AIDS services, adapting opening times, expanding geographical coverage and targeting additional MARP. Long-term sustainability remains challenging and requires private-public partnerships or continued project-based funding.
Current antiretroviral treatment (ART) models in Africa are labour intensive and require a high number of skilled staff. In the context of constraints in human resources for health, task shifting is considered a feasible alternative for ART service delivery. In 2006, Dignitas International in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health trained a cadre of expert patients at the HIV Clinic at a tertiary referral hospital in Zomba, Malawi. Expert patients were trained to assist with clinic tasks including measurement of vital signs, anthropometry and counseling.
A descriptive observational study using mixed methods was conducted two years after the start of program implementation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 patients, seven expert patients and six formal health care providers to explore perceptions towards the expert patients’ contributions in the clinic. Structured exit interviews with 81 patients, assessed whether essential ART information was conveyed during counseling sessions. Vital signs and anthropometry measurements performed by expert patients were repeated by a nurse to assess accuracy of measurements. Direct observations quantified the time spent with each patient.
There were minor differences in measurement of patients’ weight, height and temperature between the expert patients and the nurse. The majority of patients exiting a counseling session reported, without prompting, at least three side effects of ART, correct actions to be taken on observing a side-effect, and correct consequences of non-adherence to ART. Expert patients carried out 368 hours of nurse tasks each month, saving two and a half full-time nurse equivalents per month. Formal health care workers and patients accept and value expert patients’ involvement in ART provision and care. Expert patients felt valued by patients for being a ‘role model’, or a ‘model of hope’, promoting positive living and adherence to ART.
Expert patients add value to the ART services at a tertiary referral HIV clinic in Malawi. Expert patients carry out shifted tasks acceptably, saving formal health staff time, and also act as ‘living testimonies’ of the benefits of ART and can be a means of achieving greater involvement of People Living with HIV in HIV treatment programs.
Task Shifting; Expert patients; Antiretroviral treatment; Malawi
HIV/AIDS prevention projects utilizing indigenous outreach workers often rely on the life experiences and skills of the staff to structure the intervention, without grounding in theory. However, to be most effective, community outreach projects which target harder-to-reach high-risk populations should both utilize and enhance the natural strengths of indigenous field workers' experience and style of interaction, while guiding intervention content with theoretical rigor. In this paper we demonstrate that the challenge of successfully integrating a theoretically guided program design with field staff's credibility with, and sensitivity toward, drug-using clients can be practically and satisfactorily met through appropriate training. This training is an important investment for better utilizing valued and scarce prevention resources. The Philadelphia site of the AIDS Evaluation of Street Outreach Project (AESOP), a cooperative agreement of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, designed and implemented staff trainings to reflect the enhancement of the outreach program by the Stages of Change model. Through these trainings, the outreach workers have learned to integrate their natural street and intervention skills into the structure of a theoretical framework. This paper presents specific training components, relevant issues within these components, and areas for evaluation and feedback.
The United Nations millennium development goal of providing universal access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for patients living with HIV/AIDS by 2010 is unachievable. Currently, four million people are receiving ART, of an estimated 13.7 million who need it. A major challenge to achieving this goal is the shortage of health care workers in low-income and low-resource areas of the world. Sub-Saharan African countries have 68% of the world’s burden of illness from AIDS, yet have only 3% of health care workers worldwide. The shortage of health care providers is primarily caused by a national and international ‘brain drain,’ poor distribution of health care workers within countries, and health care worker burnout.
Even though the millennium development goal to provide universal access to ART will not be met by 2010, it is imperative to continue to build on the momentum created by these humanitarian goals. The present literature review was written with the purpose of attracting research and policy attention toward evidence from small-scale projects in sub-Saharan Africa, which have been successful at increasing access to ART. Specifically, a primary-care model of ART delivery, which focuses on decentralization of services, task shifting and community involvement will be discussed. To improve the health care worker shortage in sub-Saharan Africa, the conventional model of health care delivery must be replaced with an innovative model that utilizes doctors, nurses and community members more effectively.
Antiretroviral therapy; Health care workers; HIV/AIDS; Sub-Saharan Africa; United Nations millennium development goals
OBJECTIVE: Since 1985, community outreach efforts to combat acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among injecting drug users (IDUs) in the United States have overwhelmingly depended on a provider-client model that relies on staffs of professional outreach workers. We report on a comparison of this traditional outreach model with an innovative social network model, termed "a peer-driven intervention" (PDI). The latter provides IDUs with guidance and structured incentives that permit them to play a much more active role in the outreach process, thereby harnessing peer pressure on behalf of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention efforts. METHODS: We compare the performance of a traditional outreach intervention (TOI) and a PDI that were implemented in medium-sized towns in eastern and central Connecticut. Comparisons are based on the number and representativeness of IDUs recruited at each site, the effectiveness of HIV prevention education, compliance rates with AIDS risk reduction recommendations, and relative cost. The analyses are based on 522 initial interviews and 190 six-month follow-up interviews conducted during the first two years of each intervention's operation. RESULTS: Both interventions produced significant reductions in HIV risk behaviors, as measured using self-reports. The PDI outperformed the traditional intervention with respect to the number of IDUs recruited, the ethnic and geographic representativeness of the recruits, and the effectiveness of HIV prevention education. In addition, the costs of recruiting IDUs into the intervention and educating them about HIV in the community was only one-thirtieth as much in the PDI as in the traditional intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that given guidance and nominal incentives, IDUs can play a more extensive role in community outreach efforts than the traditional model allows. The findings also suggest that both interventions reduce HIV-associated risk behaviors, but the PDI reaches a larger and more diverse set of IDUs, and does so at much less expense.
Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the perspectives of secondary and tertiary school graduates in sub-Saharan Africa regarding the effectiveness of government and international HIV/AIDS policies and programmes have not been thoroughly examined. When extensive monetary aid is directed toward "development" in a country like Malawi, it is the educated elites - secondary and tertiary graduates who are heavily involved and influential in the domestic re-distribution and implementation of millions of dollars worth of aid - on whom international expectations fall to decrease the transmission of HIV. Many Malawian jobs related to public health and HIV/AIDS are created as a direct result of this funding and are occupied by the few secondary and tertiary graduates. Thus, it is a practical venture to understand their perspectives on highly contentious and heavily funded HIV/AIDS issues that affect their nation.
Qualitative data was collected in this study in efforts to discover in-depth perspectives on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thirty-eight secondary and tertiary graduate Malawians took part in semi-structured interviews. Data was analysed using an early grounded theory approach and subsequent themes of "global discourses" and "experiential knowledge of HIV/AIDS" emerged.
This group of Malawians frequently responded to questions regarding healthcare and access to medicine, sexual behaviours and methods of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS by citing and explaining the widespread, international and "proper" responses. The secondary and tertiary graduate Malawians also discussed these same topics in terms of what they perceive or have experienced. Experiential responses, such as the counter-productivity of circumcision and condoms, the overestimation of HIV/AIDS prevalence, and calls for more authoritarian policing of commercial sex work, were remarkably divergent from the HIV/AIDS discourse.
The opinions of this group of secondary and tertiary graduate Malawians do not always coincide with the current literature and policies. They give deeper insight into what is perceived and what may be taking place, and hint at what the future holds for their people. The widespread and divergent perspectives must be seriously considered because these experiences describe the potential positive and negative consequences that occur on the ground throughout Malawi as a result of HIV/AIDS policies.
To test a peer group intervention to address personal HIV prevention needs of rural health workers in Malawi.
Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared district health workers in two districts of Malawi that were randomly assigned to either the intervention or delayed control condition. We used independent sample surveys at baseline, 15 months, and 30 months postintervention. Intervention district workers received a peer group intervention after the baseline; control district workers received the delayed intervention after final data collection.
The 10-session intervention for primary prevention of HIV infection was based on the primary healthcare model, behavioral change theory, and contextual tailoring based on formative evaluation. Differences in HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and behaviors were analyzed using t tests and multiple regression controlling for baseline differences.
Health workers in the intervention district had higher general HIV knowledge, more positive attitudes about condoms, higher self-efficacy for safer sex, and more involvement in community HIV prevention at both the 15-month and 30-month postintervention survey. At 30 months, intervention district workers also reported less stigmatizing attitudes toward persons living with AIDS, more HIV tests, and lower risky sexual behaviors.
The intervention should be sustained in current sites and scaled up for health workers throughout Malawi as part of a multisectoral response to HIV prevention.
Incorporating a peer group intervention focused on personal as well as work-related HIV prevention can reduce health workers’ risky behaviors in their personal lives, potentially reducing morbidity and mortality and enhancing workforce retention. Reducing stigmatizing attitudes may also improve the quality of health services.
Health workers; HIV prevention; Malawi; peer group intervention
Using a pre- and post-test design with no control group, we evaluated the impact of a peer group intervention on work-related knowledge and behavior for health workers at an urban hospital in Malawi. We surveyed unmatched random samples of health workers, observed workers on the job, and interviewed clients about hospital services at baseline and at 6 months after the intervention. Universal precautions (UP) knowledge, reported hand washing, and reported client teaching were significantly higher at the final evaluation. The outcome differences remained robust in multivariate analyses with controls for demographic factors of age, gender, education, food security, and job category. Observations found consistently greater use of UP, more respectful interactions, and more client teaching at final evaluation. Patient surveys reported more discussion with health workers about HIV at the final evaluation. Peer-group interventions can prepare health workers in Malawi for HIV prevention and offer a potential model for other African countries.
client teaching; health workers; HIV prevention; Malawi; peer group intervention; universal precautions behaviors; universal precautions knowledge
Health worker motivation can potentially affect the provision of health services. The HIV pandemic has placed additional strain on health service provision through the extra burden of increased testing and counselling, treating opportunistic infections and providing antiretroviral treatment. The aim of this paper is to explore the challenges generated by HIV care and treatment and their impact on health worker motivation in Mbeya Region, Tanzania.
Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted with health workers across the range of health care professions in health facilities in two high HIV-prevalence districts of Mbeya Region, Tanzania. A qualitative framework analysis was adopted for data analysis.
The negative impact of HIV-related challenges on health worker motivation was confirmed by this study. Training seminars and workshops related to HIV contributed to the shortage of health workers in the facilities. Lower status workers were frequently excluded from training and were more severely affected by the consequent increase in workload as seminars were usually attended by higher status professionals who controlled access. Constant and consistent complaints by clients have undermined health workers' expectations of trust and recognition. Health workers were forced to take responsibility for dealing with problems arising from organisational inefficiencies within the health system.
HIV-related challenges undermine motivation among health workers in Mbeya, Tanzania with the burden falling most heavily on lower status workers. Strained relations between health workers and the community they serve, further undermine motivation of health workers.
Many HIV/AIDS patients experience pain often due to advanced HIV/AIDS infection and side effects of treatment. In sub-Saharan Africa, pain management for people with HIV/AIDS is suboptimal. With survival extended as a direct consequence of improved access to antiretroviral therapy, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS related pain is increasing. As most care is provided at home, the management of pain requires patient and family involvement. Pain education is an important aspect in the management of pain in HIV/AIDS patients. Studies of the effectiveness of pain education interventions for people with HIV/AIDS have been conducted almost exclusively in western countries.
A randomised controlled trial is being conducted at the HIV and palliative care clinics of two public hospitals in Malawi. To be eligible, patient participants must have a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS (stage III or IV). Carer participants must be the individual most involved in the patient’s unpaid care. Eligible participants are randomised to either: (1) a 30-minute face-to-face educational intervention covering pain assessment and management, augmented by a leaflet and follow-up telephone call at two weeks; or (2) usual care. Those allocated to the usual care group receive the educational intervention after follow-up assessments have been conducted (wait-list control group). The primary outcome is pain severity measured by the Brief Pain Inventory. Secondary outcomes are pain interference, patient knowledge of pain management, patient quality of life, carer knowledge of pain management, caregiver motivation and carer quality of life. Follow-up assessments are conducted eight weeks after randomisation by palliative care nurses blind to allocation.
This randomised controlled trial conducted in sub-Saharan Africa among people living with HIV/AIDS and their carers will assess whether a pain education intervention is effective in reducing pain and improving pain management, quality of life and carer motivation.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72861423.
HIV/AIDS; Trial; Pain; Carers; Educational intervention; Palliative care
Objective: A pilot study was designed to determine the general health problems of inner city sex workers.
Sample: The researchers worked with an agency that provides outreach services to these sex workers. Through this agency, they had access to a purposive sample of sex workers in a large Midwest city.
Methods: Nonparticipant observation was used to gather information about their health problems, the nature of information they may need, and the barriers to obtaining health care and health information.
Results: Sex workers (N = 75) ranged in age from nineteen to sixty-one years old. They identified a number of physical or psychological problems, such as rape, depression, and tuberculosis. HIV/AIDS was never mentioned. A major barrier to health care is a lack of information about where to go for treatment or how to obtain health insurance.
Conclusions: More research needs to be done by library and information science professionals to determine the information needs of sex workers and the agencies that provide them with health and social services.
Southern Africa is disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In Lesotho 23% of adults are HIV-positive, and only 26% of those in need are accessing antiretroviral treatment (ART). Consequently, about 18,000 people die from AIDS each year. In this situation, palliative care is needed towards the end of life, but is also recommended throughout the HIV disease trajectory. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced the Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness (IMAI) guidelines, which includes a palliative care guidebook (as well as acute and chronic ART guidebooks). IMAI aims to facilitate the implementation of integrated HIV/AIDS care in resource-poor areas. The opinions of health workers towards this integrated approach to care and the use of IMAI has not been considered in previous research studies. This paper therefore aims to address some of these issues.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six key informants and ten nurses in Lesotho. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content thematic analysis.
Many nurses described palliative care as synonymous with chronic care and felt that palliative care is necessary for HIV-positive patients despite the introduction of ART. It was thought that the approach taken should be holistic and integrated throughout the disease trajectory. Pain management was noted to be a particular area of need for palliative care, and it was suggested that this could be improved in Lesotho. The IMAI guidelines were thought to be useful, but knowledge of the palliative care booklet was limited.
Palliative care remains necessary for HIV despite the increasing availability of ART. However, it is currently significantly lacking in Lesotho and many other sub-Saharan African countries. Greater understanding of palliative care amongst health workers is required, as well as strong political will from the Ministry of Health. The IMAI guidelines are a useful tool for holistic HIV care, including palliative care, but they need to be used more effectively. As ART is becoming increasingly available worldwide, the complex chronic care issues for patients with HIV/AIDS should not be neglected.
Actively engaging communities in effective partnerships is considered critical for ethically robust and locally relevant HIV prevention research. This can be challenging in developing countries that have little prior experience in this area. This paper summarizes processes and lessons learnt while setting up the Community Involvement Plan of National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India. Formal partnerships were established with voluntary agencies. The focus was on using strategies adapted from participatory learning and action techniques. The community program was implemented through peer educators specifically identified from the communities where partner non-governmental organizations function. At the grass root level, peer educators imparted education to the common people about research studies and helped to implement community based recruitment and retention activities. The focus was on facilitating periodic interaction between the outreach workers of the research team and the peers and modifying the strategies till they were found locally implementable and appropriate. Through adequate time investment, mutually beneficial and respectful partnerships with community based organizations and grass root level workers, the community became actively involved in clinical research. The program helped in developing a sense of partnership among the peers for the research conducted by the research organization, widening the net of community education and identification of research participants. By building trust in the community and implementing research within an ethical framework, culturally sensitive matters were appropriately addressed. The community involvement process is long, laborious and ever-evolving. Effective community engagement requires institutional leadership support, adequate funding and commitment by researchers. It is possible to sustain such a model in a resource limited setting.
Community involvement; community advisory board (CAB); HIV prevention; partnership; research; trial; NGO
Shortage of human resources is a major problem facing Malawi, where more than 50% of the population lives in rural areas. Most of the district health services are provided by clinical health officers specially trained to provide services that would normally be provided by fully qualified doctors or specialists. As this cadre and the cadre of enrolled nurses are the mainstay of the Malawian health service at the district level, it is important that they are supported and motivated to deliver a good standard of service to the population. This study explores how these cadres are managed and motivated and the impact this has on their performance.
A quantitative survey measured health workers' job satisfaction, perceptions of the work environment and sense of justice in the workplace, and was reported elsewhere. It emerged that health workers were particularly dissatisfied with what they perceived as unfair access to continuous education and career advancement opportunities, as well as inadequate supervision. These issues and their contribution to demotivation, from the perspective of both management and health workers, were further explored by means of qualitative techniques.
Focus group discussions were held with health workers, and key-informant interviews were conducted with members of district health management teams and human resource officers in the Ministry of Health. The focus groups used convenience sampling that included all the different cadres of health workers available and willing to participate on the day the research team visited the health facility. The interviews targeted district health management teams in three districts and the human resources personnel in the Ministry of Health, also sampling those who were available and agreed to participate.
The results showed that health workers consider continuous education and career progression strategies to be inadequate. Standard human resource management practices such as performance appraisal and the provision of job descriptions were not present in many cases. Health workers felt that they were inadequately supervised, with no feedback on performance. In contrast to health workers, managers did not perceive these human resources management deficiencies in the system as having an impact on motivation.
A strong human resource management function operating at the district level is likely to improve worker motivation and performance.