The Vietnam National Tuberculosis Program Commends URC’s Work Integrating TB and HIV Services at 4th Conference of The Union Asia-Pacific Region

The Director of Vietnam's National Tuberculosis Program (NTP), Dr. Dinh Ngoc Sy, presented URC with a certificate of recognition and thanked URC for its technical assistance in integrating TB and HIV services in that country at the 4th Conference of The Union Asia-Pacific Region held April 10–13 in Ha Noi. The NTP also recognized URC for its contribution to the refinement and utility of Vitimes—a web-based TB case surveillance and management database—for better patient diagnosis, treatment and management, analysis, and reporting. The conference was organized by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

URC's model of integrating TB and HIV services in Nam Dinh Province has resulted in sustainable changes to the service delivery system and improved quality of care for TB-HIV patients. Through strengthened collaboration between TB and HIV service providers and increased TB-HIV patient information management and exchange, the proportion of patients co-infected with TB-HIV who received co-treatment rose from 27% in 2010 to 70% in 2012.

Ms. Hien Le presentsURC provides technical support to TB and HIV clinics to strengthen procedures for the review, recording, referral, and information exchange of TB-HIV patients. Monthly TB case review meetings encourage TB providers to promptly refer patients to HIV clinics and to maintain a database of all TB-HIV patients. Patient lists generated from the database facilitate cross-checking of successful referrals and co-treatment of individual patients by TB and HIV clinics. The TB and HIV clinics receive feedback every quarter on their patient management and participate in joint site visits to improve the quality of patient care and documentation. These activities have resulted in increased early initiation of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) for TB-HIV patients and provided timely follow-up for TB patients who were not successfully referred to HIV clinics.

Further momentum for TB-HIV integration was provided by the NTP's introduction in 2012 of the first web-based TB case surveillance and management database (Vitimes) to 15 provinces, including Nam Dinh. URC supported hands-on training and on-site coaching on data entry, data cleaning and monitoring, and report generation to assigned staff at all TB facilities. Vitimes data are used to cross-check patients in sputum and TB registration logbooks—to clean the data and detect recording errors—and improve diagnosis. With the success of Vitimes deployment due to URC's assistance, Nam Dinh is recognized as the leading province in this area by the NTP and TB partners in the country. Vitimes improved the accuracy of reports and the accessibility and management of patient information at all levels. The NTP has asked URC to continuously help refine Vitimes and design reports. The successful deployment of Vitimes at the district level in Nam Dinh demonstrated the feasibility of Vitimes deployment in Vietnam.

May 31, 2013
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