Satisfaction with service delivery among HIV treatment clients enrolled in differentiated and conventional models of care in South Africa: a baseline survey

By  Dr Idah Mokhele  Dr. Amy Huber  Professor Sydney Rosen  Jeanette L. Kaiser  Nkgomeleng Lekodeba  Vinolia Ntjikelane  Cheryl Hendrickson  Nancy Scott  Dr Sophie Pascoe  |  | 

Introduction: Differentiated service delivery (DSD) models aim to increase the responsiveness of HIV treatment programmes to the individual needs of antiretroviral therapy (ART) clients to improve treatment outcomes and quality of life. Little is known about how DSD client experiences differ from conventional care.
Methods: From May to November 2021, we interviewed adult (≥18) ART clients at 21 primary clinics in four districts of South Africa. Participants were enrolled consecutively at routine visits and stratified into four groups: conventional care-not eligible for DSD (conventional-not-eligible); conventional care eligible for but not enrolled in DSD (conventional-not-enrolled); facility pickup point DSD model; and external pickup point DSD model. Satisfaction was assessed using questions with 5-point Likert-scale responses. Mean scores were categorized as not satisfied (score ≤3) or satisfied (>3). We used logistic regression to assess differences and report crude and adjusted odds ratios (aORs). Qualitative themes were identified through content analysis.
Results: Eight hundred and sixty-seven participants (70% female, median age 39) were surveyed: 24% facility pick-up points; 27% external pick-up points; 25% conventional-not-eligible; and 24% conventional-not-enrolled. Seventy-four percent of all study participants expressed satisfaction with their HIV care. Those enrolled in DSD models were more likely to be satisfied, with an aOR of 6.24 (95% CI [3.18–12.24]) for external pick-up point versus conventional-not-eligible and an aOR of 3.30 (1.95–5.58) for facility pick-up point versus conventional-not-eligible. Conventional-not-enrolled clients were slightly but not significantly more satisfied than conventional-not-eligible clients (1.29, 0.85–1.96). Those seeking outside healthcare (crude OR 0.57, 0.41–0.81) or reporting more annual clinic visits (0.52, 0.29–0.93) were less likely to be satisfied. Conventional care participants reporting satisfaction with their current model of care perceived providers as helpful, respectful, and friendly and were satisfied with care despite long queues. DSD model participants emphasized ease and convenience, particularly not having to queue.
Conclusions: Most adult ART clients in South Africa were satisfied with their care, but those enrolled in DSD models expressed slightly greater satisfaction than those remaining in conventional care. Efforts should focus on enrolling more eligible patients into DSD models, expanding eligibility criteria to cover a wider client base, and further improving the models’ desirable characteristics.

Publication details

Journal of the International AIDS Society