HIV Co-Infection Surveillance Strategies (CDC-LAC)
URC provided technical assistance (TA) to 38 TB and HIV clinics in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama from April 2014 to September 2019 through the HIV Co-infection Strategies for Program Planning in Central America Project, funded and supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Central America.
This TA focused on improving providers’ and health facilities’ capacity to provide high-quality TB and HIV diagnosis, care, and management to their patients. The project trained more than 1,700 health care providers and laboratory workers at the local, regional, and national levels across the five countries. The project provided quarterly individualized TA and mentoring to each facility to help them implement needed changes to systems and procedures. Additionally, the project worked at the national level, helping ministries of health to develop policies and guidelines to improve the quality of TB/HIV care across the country.
The mentoring approach to TA was key to the project’s successes. The URC team worked hard to create a collaborative and respectful relationship with personnel in each facility, encouraging them to “learn by doing” and engaging the appropriate staff to jointly solve challenges and get buy-in for changes and activities.
When the project began in 2014, project clinics were only implementing 17% of TB infection control (TBIC) measures on average; in 2018, they were implementing 92%. All five countries also now have trained trainers in TBIC so that they can sustain their commitment to preventing the spread of TB infection in health facilities.