Reaching Exposed Infants with Care and Treatment Services: The Story from Meatu District

By Jane Kashumba [AGPAHI Program Officer – Clinical Services]


Meatu District is one of the five districts of Simiyu Region. It is bordered to the north by the Bariadi District, to the west by the Maswa and Kishapu Districts, to the east by the Arusha Region, to the southeast by the Manyara Region and to the south by the Singida Region. By the end of 2014, there were 46 facilities in Meatu that provide RCH services in which 40 facilities provide option B+ services and 9 facilities provide care and treatment services and HIV early infant diagnosis (HEID) services.


Just like in many other districts, reaching infants who are exposed to HIV has remained a challenge. Recognizing this, Meatu CHMT worked closely with AGPAHI team and ascertained that the main barriers for reaching exposed infants were:

1) the capacity of providers in collecting DBS; Reaching Exposed Infants with Care and Treatment Services:

2) availability of DBS kits; 3) distance from services and; 4) stigma. To overcome these challenges, a special campaign for increased DBS uptake among infants was established. To ensure that this is done, task force comprising of 2 district mentors, 1 medical attendant and a DRCHCo was formed.
The team agreed and organized DBS collection campaign at identified collection sites that included facility and community based sites. The task force ensured that community mobilization was conducted through community leaders (ward and village executive officers and hamlet leaders) religious leaders, at schools and community radios. In addition, AGPAHI ensured that DBS kits were available for the campaign. The campaign was successful despite a slow start in the first quarter of the year (28 out of 76 registered infants were reached).

 

The campaign was at the peak in quarter three of 2014 where 122 out of 252 exposed infants were reached which included the identified but not tested infants for the previous two quarters. The higher registered number, that is 122, is due to the high backlog of infants from quarter one and two.
Towards the end of 2014, 52 (100%) of the registered exposed infants were reached and DBS sample collected. See the figure below.

 

 

The support provided by AGPAHI during this campaign has beyond reasonable doubt increased the uptake of DBS for exposed infants. Operationalization of the campaigns and its mainstreaming into the district plans for sustainability is at the heart of AGPAHI strategy. By so doing, districts will consistently reach the national target of 90% in the identification of infants, initiation of ART and retention of infants respectively.

What We Do

  • CIFF Reprogramming +

    Project Goal is to improve health services to prevent HIV transmission, increase identification of adolescents with HIV infection, and improve HIV care and treatment and retention for ALHIV in Tanzania.

  • TB in the Mining Sector Programme +

    TB in mining sector (TIMS) project is funded by Global fund through Development Aid from People to People (ADPP - Mozambique). AGPAHI is a sub-recipient of ADPP Mozambique.The project target is to screen TB to approximately 30,000 mine workers and their families.

  • Provision of Comprehensive HIV Care +

    The purpose of** Boresha Project** is to support comprehensive facility-based HIV testing, care, treatment and support service provision in 9 scale-up and 25 sustained districts in the five lake zone regions of Geita, Mara, Mwanza, Simiyu and Shinyanga. .

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