The CBC Health Services kick starts a pilot model to integrate HIV and NCD Care services in six of her facilities namely: Nkwen Baptist Health Centre, Banso Baptist Hospital, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Baptist Hospital Mutengene, Kumba Baptist Health Centre, and Bafoussam Baptist Health Center. This move stems from the need to maximise the use of the platforms heretofore silos, to enhance case detection of both conditions.
The initiative engages both Care Programs to conduct routine screening at health facility and community levels, have linkage systems to initiate positive cases to care and enroll them into dedicated clinics, and well-organised peer-support.
Prior to the start of the activities, a series of workshops were organised at the various Pilot Sites with the staff in both units to introduce the various screening modalities and tools to capture the data. Linkage systems were also defined to ensure that positive cases receive the appropriate referral, treatment and follow-up in the various units within the facility.
“Routine screening for NCDs was not being done for persons living with HIV (PLWH), and HIV screening was not being done for people living with NCDs, before this pilot began,” submitted Dr. Epie Njume, General Supervisor, NCD Prevention and Control Program.
“One month into the pilot, we have noticed that the screening uptake is low for both conditions especially among those who are already in care and the principal factors responsible for this include; the inability for patients to pay for the screening. PLWH are given ARVs and tuberculosis medicines free of charge but these subsidies do not extend to screening for NCDs.
Patients living with NCDs have to also pay for the HIV test, which adds to their already significant financial burden related to their care, which is not subsidized. These challenges can be opportunities and serve as arguments for funding support,” Dr. Njume analyzed.
“The hope is that lessons learned from this pilot phase will enable us to scale up in the rest of our institutions and establish more comprehensive approaches to reducing the burden created by these disease domains in the population we serve,” explained Prof. Tih Pius, the director of CBC Health Services.