To create the capacity needed to initiate the programme at selected facilities; EQUIP mentored and coached facility staff on Test & Start protocols for patients. Similar processes were followed for scale-up of Multi-Month Scripting Distribution (MMSD), implementation of Community ART distribution and optimisation of viral load monitoring and staff performance at site level.
Through assessments EQUIP has addressed logistical challenges, resulting in stronger supply chain management and an increase in laboratory capacity – producing more viral load samples and speeding up result turnaround time.
As a country still recovering from civil war, with an often-unstable political situation, lack of trained healthcare workers, suboptimal data and data management, and unavailability of health policies and guidelines, the challenges for EQUIP have been great. The EQUIP team persevered and successfully provided in-service training, ART mentorship, data review and validation in high volume facilities, as well as Tier.Net training to implementing partners and Ministry of Health staff to ensure better data management. EQUIP places an emphasis on training as it provides the backbone of health systems strengthening, while introducing innovative HIV strategies for care and treatment.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the poorest countries in the world and was ranked 176 out of 187 countries on the latest United Nations Human Development Index (2015). Due to the persistent presence of armed groups, ongoing insecurity continues to destabilize eastern DRC. Other challenges include rampant corruption, inadequate infrastructure and human resources, and a limited capacity to raise and manage revenues.The DRC was once renowned in Africa for its network of clinics, quality of physicians, and primary health care system. In the past three decades, the political and economic collapse of the country had a dramatic impact on this system. Hospitals and clinics lack personnel and equipment, and often run out of critical medicine and supplies. An estimated 70% of Congolese have little or no access to health care. Strengthening the health care system is critical to improving the health of Congolese citizens.
The DRC ranks 6th out of the 22 countries that account for 80 percent of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the DRC is lower than in many sub-Saharan African countries, at 1.2 percent in the general population, but higher in urban areas and among women.