The HIV Free Project Technical Director, – Dr. Albert Bakor has prescribed ‘Smart’ strategies for the attainment of project targets in Quarter 4 of the financial year 19 (FY19). Dr. Bakor was talking to HIV-Free SW project staff during Quarter 3 (Q3) coordination meeting that took place on August 2, 2019 at the CBC Health Services Complex in Mutengene.
From the presentation of Q3 results, there was a general improvement in the attainment of targets although still not meeting the desired outcome. For instance, there were gaps noticed in HIV testing, and especially those tested positive and those initiated on Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. At the end of Quarter 3 with an annual target of 149,492, the South West (SW) has so far achieved 99,171 given 66% instead of at least 75%, ART initiation achievement rate as per the annual target was just 29%.
It is from this premise and other key indicators that the Technical Director outlined Smart strategies which centered on case identification, treatment initiation, retention, viral load suppression and performance monitoring. He noted that for project staff to be more efficient in Quarter 4, they must work hard and work smart. Some of the Smart strategies were to, focus on index testing with keen interest on sexual contacts of newly diagnosed clients, contacts of patients with unsuppressed viral load, test sexual contacts of key populations, strategize to test all contacts of index cases already elicited and notified, identify entry point and linkage agents with challenges and support them to improve performance.
The treatment retention improved from Q1 to Q3: In Q1, the retention was -134%, 51% in Q2 and experienced a sharp increase to 135% in Q3. Observing improvement in retention, the Technical Director urged staff to continue implementing the strategies to improve retention and turn all the ‘reds’ to ‘greens” for some specific sites. To ensure that clients are on treatment and current in care, it was emphasized that clients who come in the month should be refilled for at least two months if ARVs are available.