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Leveraging HIV Platforms | Healthcare | Volume 3, Issue 4, pp. 270-276 7 MB

“Ultimately, our main lesson was that given limited human and financial resources, innovative solutions are required in order to address a broadening horizon of chronic disease in Malawi. These solutions should help maximize efficiency and focus on a patient-centered approach, taking advantage of similar characteristics of chronic conditions when designing care delivery systems. IC³ is our version of tackling these challenges.”

Abstract

This case study describes an integrated chronic care clinic that utilizes a robust HIV program as a platform for NCD screening and treatment. A unique model, the integrated chronic care clinic provides longitudinal care for patients with an array of chronic diseases including HIV and common NCDs, allowing for a single visit for all of a patient’s conditions. Set in Malawi’s remote Neno District, this clinic structure aims to (1) increase access to care for NCD patients, (2) maximize efficiency given the severe human resource shortages, and (3) replicate strong HIV outcomes for patients with other chronic conditions. The goal is to increase the number of health facilities in Neno capable of fully delivering Malawi’s Essential Health Package, the set of cost-effective interventions endorsed by Malawi MOH to reduce burden of disease and leading causes of death.

While implementation is ongoing and processes are evolving, this model of healthcare delivery has already improved the accessibility of NCD care by allowing patients to have all of their chronic conditions treated on the same day at their nearest health facility, notably without additional investment of human and financial resources. Currently, 6781 patients on antiretroviral therapy and 721 patients with NCDs are benefitting, including 379 with hypertension, 187 with asthma, 144 with epilepsy, and 76 with diabetes. Among the NCD patient population, 15.1% are HIV-positive. Success hinged largely on several factors, including clear leadership and staff ownership of their specific duties, and a well-defined and uniform patient flow process. Furthermore, deliberate and regular conversations about challenges allowed for constant iteration and improvement of processes.

Moving forward, several tasks remain. We are refining the data management process to further consolidate medical records, along with integrating our tracking processes for clients who miss appointments. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities for further integration, including family planning. A follow-up patient satisfaction survey is planned for the coming months to track the impact of the clinic’s redesign.

Given limited human and financial resources, innovative solutions are required to address the growing burden of chronic disease in Malawi. We have found that an integrated, patient-centered approach maximizes efficiency and reduces barriers to care for the hardest to reach patients.