New research refutes the concern that concentrated HIV/AIDS funding during the last three decades has come at the expense of other disease-fighting efforts.
The study team, led by Dr. Donald Shepard of Brandeis University, focused on Rwanda. "The AIDS program was in the process of being rolled out to many health facilities. So that made it possible to do this controlled study of looking at facilities that already had AIDS services and other facilities that were similar but didn't -- to try to see in that country at least what the actual impact had been," Shepard explained.
Two teams of researchers visited each of the centers in the study, using a questionnaire to evaluate the "inputs and outputs" of each, Shepard said. "The inputs were the staff that they had, drugs and other items that they received, and the outputs were a series of services that they produced, particularly in terms of visits and vaccinations, and other types of services by health facility by year."
"We concluded that there was no evidence at all of the adverse effect that some researchers had feared and speculated about -- and some evidence that indeed that there were positive spinoffs," including the finding that health centers offering HIV/AIDS services "provided better preventive care than those that did not, including superior delivery of childhood vaccinations," Shepard said.
"Rwanda has had a very deliberate policy of integrating AIDS services into its health care system. So while from a donors' viewpoint AIDS has separate mechanisms -- in Rwanda's case, the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria] and [the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program] -- within the country itself, it had made a very conscious effort of trying to integrate AIDS into the health care system and has helped to strengthen the health care system more generally in Rwanda," noted Shepard.
[PNU editor's note: The report, "A Controlled Study of Funding for Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome as Resource Capacity Building in the Health System in Rwanda," was published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2012;86(5):902-907).]
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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