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      Adherence to standards of quality HIV/AIDS care and antiretroviral therapy in the West Nile Region of Uganda

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      BMC Health Services Research

      BioMed Central

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          Over one million people in Uganda are estimated to be infected with HIV and about 20% of these were already accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART), by 2010. There is a dearth of data on adherence to antiretroviral therapy and yet high client load on a weak and resource constrained health system impacts on provision of quality HIV/AIDS care. We assessed adherence to standards of HIV care among health workers in the West Nile Region of Uganda.


          We conducted a cross sectional study in nine health facilities. Records of a cohort of 270 HIV clients that enrolled on ART 12 months prior were assessed. The performance of each health facility on the different indicators of standards of HIV/AIDS care was determined and compared with the recommended national guidelines.


          We found that 94% of HIV clients at all the facilities were assessed for ART eligibility using WHO clinical staging while only two thirds (64.8%) were assessed using CD4. Only 42% and 37% of HIV clients at district hospitals and health centers respectively, received basic laboratory work up prior to ART initiation and about a half (46.7%) of HIV clients at these facilities received the alternative standard 1st line antiretroviral (ARV) regimen. Standards of ART adherence and tuberculosis assessment declined from over 70% to less than 50% and from over 90% to less than 70% respectively, during follow up visits with performance being poorer at the higher level regional referral facility compared to the lower level facilities.


          Adherence to standards of HIV/AIDS care at facilities was inadequate. Performance was better at the start of ART but declined during the follow up period. Higher level facilities were more likely to adhere to standards like CD4 monitoring and maintaining HIV clients on standard ARV regimen. Efforts geared towards strengthening the health system, including support supervision and provision of care guidelines and job aides are needed, especially for lower level facilities.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents: Recommendations for a public health approach 2010

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            Will DOTS do it? A reappraisal of tuberculosis control in countries with high rates of HIV infection.

            In 1993 the WHO declared tuberculosis a global emergency, and subsequently introduced the DOTS strategy, a technical and management package based on earlier work of the IUATLD and international experience with directly observed therapy. Despite successful implementation of most of the elements of this strategy in several African countries and settings, tuberculosis case rates continue to escalate where the prevalence of HIV infection is high. We explore possible reasons for the failure to control tuberculosis even in the context of tuberculosis programmes that have been considered models for others to emulate. In many African countries half or more of tuberculosis patients are now HIV-infected; in such settings, the overall epidemiology of tuberculosis is disproportionately affected by what happens in the HIV-infected subpopulation of the community. Persons with HIV infection are at increased risk of rapid progression following primary infection or re-infection, and also from reactivation of latent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. More intensive strategies need to be targeted to the HIV-infected to interrupt on-going transmission (active and passive case detection; prevention of nosocomial transmission) and reactivation (preventive therapy). The high burden of other HIV-related disease in patients with tuberculosis, such as other bacterial infections, toxoplasmosis and other manifestations of AIDS, require that tuberculosis programmes integrate their activities better with those of HIV/AIDS programmes, including those for provision of HIV/AIDS care. Enhanced epidemiological surveillance is required to follow tuberculosis trends in the HIV-positive and negative sub-populations of communities, which may respond differently to control efforts. Strategies for tuberculosis control programmes in countries of high and low HIV prevalence cannot be the same, but must take into account the epidemiology of HIV infection. HIV/AIDS in Africa poses severe challenges of purpose and identity to tuberculosis control programmes, which have not adapted to the altered realities of the HIV/AIDS era. DOTS alone is unlikely to control tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa; one major achievement of DOTS when implemented, however, has been its apparent ability to limit the development and spread of drug resistance.
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              Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents, recommendations for a public health approach

               C Gilks,  M Vitoria (2010)

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                18 November 2014
                18 November 2014
                : 14
                : 1
                [ ]Makerere University School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda
                [ ]Division of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet, Solnavägen 1, 171 77 Solna, Sweden
                [ ]Management Sciences for Health, Kampala, Uganda
                © Burua et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Research Article
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                Health & Social care


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