41. Strengthen and expand case-finding through developing nurturing and enabling environments, integrating testing into orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programs, adapting and localizing case management tools, and promoting social services.

June 2020

CRS: Strengthen and expand case-finding through developing nurturing and enabling environments, integrating testing into orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programs, adapting and localizing case management tools, and promoting social services.

  • CRS FASTER’s studies on the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of caregiver-assisted oral fluid-based HIV screening of children 18 mo – 14 years in Zambia and Uganda are preparing for research assistant training and site activation in August and September, respectively. 

  • In light of PEPFAR’s recommendation to consider HIV oral screening for children 2-11 years in other countries during the time of COVID, FASTER and CDC have been in discussing caregiver-assisted testing of children with a CDC-supported colleagues in another Southern Africa country and have shared specific SOPs and training materials developed for the FASTER Zambia and Uganda studies with them.

  • FASTER is working with EGPAF to provide programmatic assistance with the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe for the introduction of Raltegravir granules for HIV-positive neonates in 14 select POC-EID birth testing sites. Donated Raltegravir granules from Merck have been pre-positioned at the sites and training of healthcare staff at the sites was completed in mid-June with appropriate COVID-19 precautions. Protocol revisions are being finalized. Final approval and site activation is expected in this next quarter.

 

CRS's FASTER project has begun in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (start-up meetings took place and work plans approved in all 5 countries). They are wrapping up protocol development for the Oraquick studies in Zambia and Uganda.

April 2020

CRS FASTER is involved in two studies on the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of caregiver-assisted oral fluid-based HIV screening of children 18 mo - 14 years in Zambia and Uganda. But study protocols hindered by COVID-19 at the moment.

 

With PEPFAR recommendation to allow HIV oral screening for children 2-11 years, there will be increased demand for test kits. Many countries will likely have competing priorities for use of their oral-fluid-based HIVST stock if also going to use for screening children.  Many countries only do quantification of need once or twice a year. Implementing this PEPFAR recommendation will require nation MOHs to both 1) update their national guidelines to allow this age group to be tested by their parent/caregiver and 2) look at re-prioritization of available kits and quickly regroup to do quatification to have enough kits available

Other activitie:

  • Supporting the National AIDS Control program to develop rapid advice for HIV programming in the COVID-19 era;

  • Supporting overall HIV program coordination at national and sub-national levels to ensure government support for uninterrupted HIV services at health facilities;

  • Working with lead IPs at the FASTER states to roll out programming strategies to ensure drug availability, drug pick-up and adherence, and uninterrupted uptake of VL and EID testing;

  • Rolling out service delivery models that promote the safety of HCWs and patients and minimizes the transmission of COVID-19 during clinical visits;

  • Promoting use of ICT4D for patient monitoring, appointment reminders, surveillance and monitoring of patients who become co-infected with COVID-19.