Five Ways Ugandan Health Teams Provide HIV Care in Lockdown

Uganda is currently in a partial country-wide lockdown. This after the second wave of novel coronavirus infections, spurred by the delta variant which was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute. So far, Uganda has only vaccinated less than 1% of its population. Much like March 2020, people living with HIV are stuck in their homes and unable to visit their preferred health facilities for medication refills. Due to widespread HIV-related stigma, patients frequently seek HIV care at facilities several kilometres away from where they live. There are currently 1.2 million Ugandans enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART) - they are especially affected by the lockdown.

A study done by Makerere University shows that districts and providers devised five key strategies to overcome lockdown restrictions in distributing antiretrovirals.

These are home-based deliveries of the ARTs, extention of ART refill periods, community-based ART distribution, using geospatial technologies and enlisting the help of district health officers. These initiatives are assisted through funding received from the Ugandan government, as part of its Covid-19 response.

One of the positives of the lockdown was the unprecedented demand for community based ART delivery, writes Henry Zakumumpa, a Health Systems Researcher at Makerere University.

InFocus

(file photo).

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