ART programme and task shifting

The use of antiretroviral drugs, and HIV counselling and testing in Ethiopia has increased in Ethiopia. Dr Degu Dare, who was among the first to start ART at rural hospitals in Ethiopia, is the co-author of a recent paper in PLoS Medicine (1).

Has this expansion of ART affected the performance of other health programmes such as tuberculosis and maternal and child health services is the question they asked.

Very interestingly, the authors document task shifting to the health officers, nurses, and health extension workers, and that this might be responsible for the successes of the ART programme in Ethiopia. However, HIV prevention interventions and management of chronic care patients are lagging behind. This may be because doctors leave the public sector to work for NGOs.

1. Assefa Y, Jerene D, Lulseged S, Ooms G, Van Damme W (2009) Rapid Scale-Up of Antiretroviral Treatment in Ethiopia: Successes and System-Wide Effects. PLoS Med 6(4): e1000056. doi:10.1371/ journal.pmed.1000056

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