Increasing Access to Pediatric Care and Treatment Services
In June 2010, ViiV Healthcare and EGPAF joined together to improve early detection of HIV and treatment access for HIV-positive infants and young children (IYC) in three countries. The EGPAF-ViiV partnership focused on expediting access to testing, care and antiretroviral treatment for IYC, and enabled EGPAF to fill critical gaps that limit access by focusing on three key objectives:
- Increasing early detection and initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive infants and young children;
- Strengthening government leadership;
- Using strategic information to understand what works, and to apply this understanding to improve programs.
By project end, there were significant improvements in key indicators, including more HIV-exposed infants tested within eight weeks of birth; more HIV-exposed infants who tested positive receiving their results within eight weeks of testing; and more HIV-exposed IYC who tested positive initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART). In addition, linkages between health facilities and communities were strengthened via new partnerships with community-based organizations and the engagement of village health workers, technical advocacy aimed at addressing barriers to testing and treating IYC was successful in a number of areas, including the ability for nurses to prescribe ART and the development of a new national pediatric counseling and testing curriculum in Swaziland, and 40 HIV/AIDS Technical Leaders from 16 countries were provided critical training on how to implement the new WHO Guidelines on Pediatric ART.