Effective public-private partnerships for sustainable antiretroviral therapy: outcomes of the Right to Care health services GP down-referral program

By  Idah Mokhele  Sello Mashamaite, Pappie Majuba, Thembi Xulu  Dr. Lawrence Long  Dr Dorina Onoya  |  | 

The recently increased access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in South Africa has placed additional strain on human and infrastructure resources of the public health sector. Capacity from private-sector General Practitioners (GPs) could be leveraged to ease the current burden on the public health sector.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective record review of routine electronic medical record data on a systematic sample of HIV-infected adults (≥18 years old) initiated on ART at a tertiary hospital outpatient HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa and down-referred to private-GPs for continued care after stabilization on ART. We compared these patients (“GP down-referred”) to a control-cohort who remained at the referring site (“Clinic A”)
and patients from a regional hospital outpatient HIV clinic not offering down-referral to GPs (“Clinic B”). Study outcomes assessed are viral load suppression (VL < 50 copies/ml) and attrition from care (all-cause-mortality or > 90-days late for a last-scheduled visit) by 12 months of follow-up following down-referral or eligibility.

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BMC Public Health