By Alex Ekblom
On Sunday, EGPAF, mothers2mothers (M2M) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) hosted a satellite entitled “Eliminating pediatric AIDS and keeping mothers alive from an implementation perspective – best practices, programmatic barriers and bottlenecks in the field.” This was a four-part/panel series of presentations moderated by John Donnelly, a journalist from GlobalPost.
The first part had to do with country-level approaches around building capacity of HIV service implementers, which highlighted Kenya’s mentor mothers approach (where HIV-positive mothers are trained to coordinate access to and retention in care among other HIV-positive mothers), EGPAF-Zimbabwe’s experiences in reducing costs of all-level health care worker training by reduction in time of training and facilitators (saving $185.00 per participant), and SAATHI’s experience in engaging the private sector to increase local PMTCT capacity (including collaboration of 17 NGOs to increase private site coverage, which has reached 1.2 million women with PMTCT care).
The second panel focused on supporting continuity of care and featured m2m’s work on mother mentors in retaining women through use of smartphones and SMS reminders, and NASCOPs implementation of a courier system to shorten turnaround time for early infant diagnosis of HIV.
The next panel was centered around how to create demand to increase uptake of PMTCT. Examples included the use of m2m mentor mothers, who increase quality of care to clients by relieving health worker burden/task shifting, EGPAF-Zambia’s integration of syphilis and HIV testing (through innovations in rapid testing) and the use of 8 steps to roll out effective integration, and EGPAF-Lesotho’s implementation of integrated health services and the use of Family Health Days, or mobile health services which offer a variety of testing and treatment options for HIV, opportunistic infections.
The final panel focused on data use and highlighted m2m’s “let’s SOAR” initiative, which included a quarterly data review component, where site coordinators could review daily recorded data and assess areas for needed improvement, EGPAF-Swaziland’s data collection and review mentorship activities, EGPAF-Rwanda’s implementation of an excel macro tools to issue feedback to supported facilities through reports of facility and district data (from which facilities could see where improvements were needed), and EGPAF-Tanzania’s experience implementing quality improvement initiatives to strengthen pediatric care.
Delegates brought interesting questions into the discussion. One of which was how can we better prioritize the “keeping their mothers alive” portion of the global plan. It’s an important point for upcoming work on elimination of MTCT.