Integration of Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Antiretroviral Services Could Reduce HIV/AIDS Cases in Africa, Experts Say
January 30, 2008
Integrating family planning, reproductive health and antiretroviral drug services could reduce the number of new HIV cases in Africa, experts said recently at the fifth African Population Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, the New Vision/AllAfrica.com reports. Researchers, demographers, policymakers and others attending the conference said that offering a combination of related services at a single health center also could reduce costs and stigma, as well as increase accessibility to services and provide additional health benefits.
Henry Kakande of ACQUIRE Project, a USAID-funded pilot program in Uganda, said that a "one-stop health care center would address" HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, as well as the lack of awareness about the disease. Providers also would be "empowered to handle such clients as they come because they are not comfortable opening up to different people and this undermines our efforts" to fight the disease and improve child and maternal health, he said.
According to the 2006 State of Uganda Population report, integration would increase efficiency and convenience for patients, as well as opportunities to promote reproductive health and HIV/AIDS awareness. However, the report found that shortages of health care workers might hinder the benefits of integration because demand could overload staff and diminish the quality of care. "Weak logistics systems are another issue, and each aspect requires strong supervision and referrals for management plus follow-up," the report said (Nabusoba/Emasu, New Vision/AllAfrica.com, 1/28).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.