Mozambique: Sharing Burdens of Living With AIDS
October 5, 2011
Organizing rural HIV/AIDS patients into groups of six -- who take turns making monthly trips into town for antiretroviral drugs, and who offer each other support -- greatly improved patient retention, treatment adherence, and health, according to a two-year Doctors Without Borders (DWB) pilot trial in Tete province.
Among these small groups, almost no one stopped treatment and just 2 percent died. Among comparison patients not in such groups, 20 percent stopped treatment or died. The groups helped lighten the caseload among health care providers at public hospitals and clinics, and health economists say they cut the cost of treatment. The approach, developed by Dr. Tom Decroo working with DWB in Tete, facilitated clinical monitoring and reduced the number of trips each patient took from 12 a year to two.
"We went up there and were blown away," said Dr. Kebba Jobarteh, head of CDC's HIV care and treatment program in Mozambique. "We met five groups. They were amazing. This is a potential game changer for HIV."
The program involved clinically stable patients, so a comparison with other patients could be skewed, said Dr. Tim Farley, a World Health Organization (WHO) AIDS expert. Nonetheless, "Reducing the health-system burden from these patients is fantastic and allows the scarce clinical resources to be used for more complicated patients," he said.
Mozambique, which WHO estimates has about 2.7 doctors per 100,000 population, has decided to pilot the self-forming patient groups in every province this year. The village chief of Nkondedzi, Aviso Supinho, said group members have helped raise AIDS awareness and improved villagers' lives.
New York Times
09.27.2011; Celia W. Dugger
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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