Formative Evaluation of Antiretroviral Therapy Scale-Up Efficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published in: AIDS Patient Care and STDs, v. 21, No. 11, Nov. 2007, p. 871-888
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006
With millions in need of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the developing world, and scarce human and fiscal resources available, the authors conducted a formative evaluation of scale-up operations at clinics associated with AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Africa to identify lessons learned for improving scale-up efficiency. Site visits were made to six selected clinics in Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa, during which semistructured interviews with key stake-holders and observation of client flows and clinic operations were performed. This evaluation revealed the following lessons related to factors that are critical to efficient ART scale-up: (1) to ensure steady ART uptake, it is important to involve the community and community leaders in outreach, HIV education, and program decision-making; (2) minimizing bottlenecks to smooth patient flow requires efficient staff allocation to appropriate clinical duties, streamlined clinic visit schedule protocols, and tapping clients and the HIV community as a key source of labor; (3) to minimize clients dropping out of care, structures should be developed that enable clients to provide support and a safety net for helping each other remain in care; (4) computerized record management systems are essential for accurate antiretroviral inventory and dispensing records, quality assurance monitoring, and client enrollment records and visit scheduling; (5) effective organizational management and human resource policies are essential to maintain high job performance and satisfaction and limit burnout; (6) to maximize impact on social and economic health, it is important for ART programs to develop effective mechanisms for coordinating and referring clients to support service organizations.