Training community care workers to provide comprehensive TB/HIV/PMTCT integrated care in KwaZulu‐Natal: lessons learnt
Objective To describe a participatory approach to implement and evaluate ways to integrate and train community care workers (CCWs) to enhance collaborative TB/HIV/PMTCT activities, and home‐based HIV counseling and testing (HCT) at community level.
Methods The intervention study was conducted in Sisonke, a rural district of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. A baseline household (HH) survey was conducted in 11 villages. Six villages were randomly selected into intervention and control clusters. Training was provided first to CCWs from the intervention cluster (IC) followed by the control cluster (CC). Routine monthly data from CCWs were collected from March–December 2010. The data was subjected to bivariate tests.
Results The baseline HH survey revealed that of 3012 HH members visited by CCWs in 2008, 21% were screened for TB symptoms, 7% were visited for TB adherence support and 2% for ART adherence, and 1.5% were counselled on infant feeding options. A total of 89 CCWs were trained. Data show that during the study period in IC, 684 adults were offered HCT by CCWs, 92% accepted HCT and tested and 7% tested HIV‐positive and were referred to the clinic for further care. Of 3556 adults served in IC, 44% were screened for TB symptoms and 32% for symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and 37% of children were traced as TB contact. Out of 6226 adults served in CC, 10% were screened for TB symptoms and 7% for STI symptoms. The differences in uptake of services between IC and CC were statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Conclusion The findings of this study suggest higher uptake of TB and STI symptoms screening, TB contact tracing and home based HCT in the intervention clusters. This study suggests that up‐skilling CCWs could be one avenue to enhance TB/HIV case finding, TB contact tracing and linkages to care.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Publication date: April 1, 2012