Developing Strategies in the Central America and Panama Region to Strengthen Reponses to the HIV Epidemic
Funded by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Project Duration: 2010 to present
Countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama
The project's primary objective is to strengthen TB and HIV control and surveillance in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. URC provides technical support to build lab capacity, improve provider-initiated counseling and testing, strengthen the use of data for decision making by adapting information software and electronic TB registries, and improve and increase TB case management. The project is also working at the national level in all Central American countries to strengthen lab capacity for basic diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). URC has prioritized establishing a regional database for TB, HIV, and STIs; This prioritization directly aligns with the PEPFAR Central America Regional HIV/AIDS Partnership Framework and will support regional coordination and implementation by conducting regional workshops where best pracicies, lessons learned, and innovative strategies can be shared.
- Provide technical support to national TB programs (NTPs) to strengthen TB and TB/HIV case management, including case detection, diagnosis, provider-initiatved testing and counseling (PITC), and patient care and treatment
- Train lab managers and staff in standard operating procedures for labs, TB and HIV testing, specimen handling and processing, lab safety, biomedical waste disposal, preventative maintenance of equipment, documentation, and data collection and reporting
- Design and support the development and deployment of an electronic system for registering and reporting TB data
- Train health care providers in TB case management and TB/HIV surveillance
- Assess national lab capacity in testing for STIs, HIV, and TB and support the acquisition of equipment and training
- Evaluate the possibility of integrating national information systems into a regional system
- In Nicaragua and Guatemala, the project conducted a diagnostic needs assessment, the platform for program interventions and training. It also conducted needs assessments on the capacities of national labs to perform basic STI diagnosis and reviewed all their standard operating procedures, protocols, and norms.
- URC facilitated a best practices visit to El Salvador for the NTP directors. El Salvador’s NTP is considered a regional example of a well-managed and successful TB program. The visit supported regional knowledge sharing and provided an opportunity to exchange best practices, lessons learned, and innovative approaches to TB case management. During the visit, countries developed an improvement plan for their respective TB programs (URC will support these programs/plans with continued technical assistance and training).
- The project trained 61 service providers on TB case management and PICT in Guatemala (follow up and refresher training are planned).
- The project also provided technical assistance to Ministries of Health on TB/HIV and HIV, modes of transmission models, monitoring and evaluation, communications technology, and other technical areas.
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Quality Improvement; Health Systems Strengthening; Research and Evaluation