The Cameroon Ministry of Health (MOH) aims to carry out differentiated antiretroviral therapy (DART) quality assessments in 50 health facilities as part of its quality improvement action plan. The action plan was developed at the CQUIN Delivering Quality at Scale in Differentiated Service Delivery Programs Workshop in April.
According to Cameroon MOH data, in 2021, over 80,000 Cameroonians tested positive for HIV, and just over 70,000 people enrolled in treatment. PHIA data from Cameroon show that although over 90 percent of adults who know their HIV status are on ART, only 80 percent of adults on treatment are virally suppressed.
For Lifanda Ebiama Lifanda, MD, MPH, head of Health Sector Support and national DSD coordinator for Cameroon, client retention is a significant challenge for attaining HIV epidemic control, making quality care and client satisfaction high priorities for the MOH. “We have three fundamental issues. First, some health care providers don’t seem to understand their impact on client retention in care. Secondly, we need funding to develop a quality framework, quality assurance, and quality improvement system. Lastly, ensuring supply chain and the availability of HIV commodities such as medication remains a challenge,” Dr. Lifanda said.
With CQUIN support, Cameroon hopes to glean insights from recipients of care to help health care providers determine how to integrate assessment and improvement of client satisfaction into all HIV services through the quality assessments.
Between July 2022 and April 2023, Cameroon has three main objectives for its quality action plan, which include finalizing the country’s National Quality Framework, Quality Indicators, and DSD Assessment tools, training health care providers on quality assurance for DSD, and monitoring quality improvement in the 50 using the framework, indicators, and assessment tools in the selected health facilities.
Cameroon is not the only country prioritizing the development of quality standards for its health services. “Almost all countries are planning to develop quality standards for DSD, DSD services facility assessment tools, and QI for DSD training, following the QI workshop,” said Martin Msukwa, MPH, BSN, CQUIN regional advisor and lead for CQUIN’s quality community of practice. “CQUIN will support countries to mainstream quality into their service delivery processes,” he said.
According to Dr. Lifanda: “Testing is yielding success for Cameroon. However, retaining clients in care and on treatment is the issue. If we can provide quality services, we can attain epidemic control.”