Over 400 CQUIN stakeholders and partners attended CQUIN’s first meeting on maternal and child health (MCH) services, including ministry of health representatives from network member countries, national networks of people living with HIV, implementers, global partners from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International AIDS Society (IAS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.
From May 25-27, 2021, the Leveraging the Lessons of Differentiated Service Delivery to Provide High-Quality Integrated Maternal and Child Health Services meeting sought to bring stakeholders together to explore the health needs of HIV positive women. The focus of discussions for the meeting was on non-pregnant women enrolled in differentiated antiretroviral therapy (DART) models, pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV.
“Optimizing care for pregnant and breastfeeding women through DSD might be the game-changer that gets us to the last mile – the elimination of pediatric HIV infections. We hope the discussions at this meeting enable better health outcomes for HIV-positive mothers and their babies,” said Fatima Tsiouris, MS, ICAP’s deputy director for human resources for health (HRH) development and PMTCT technical lead.
The meeting agenda included plenary presentations, panel discussions, and parallel breakout sessions on the latest science and global guidance for HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and support of women of reproductive age. The meeting also highlighted implementation experience – the “how” of service delivery – with a focus on case studies and lessons learned CQUIN network countries.
In a parallel session on Ensuring Integration of Contraceptive Services into DSD for HIV Treatment Models, moderators from IAS offered an interactive virtual “sticky notes” feature, which allowed participants in the session to actively engage and document their thoughts in real-time.
Another meeting highlight was a debate session addressing the statement: All Mom/Baby Pairs Should be Followed in a DSD Model as a Unit. Shaffiq Essajee, MA, BMBCh UNICEF’s senior advisor in HIV moderated the session. Angela Mushavi, MBChB, from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care, argued for the benefits of monitoring mothers and their children on ART in the same DSD model, while Aleny Couto, MD, Ministry of Health, Mozambique, argued against the motion. Polling before and after the debate indicated that a substantial proportion of listeners changed their minds based on the presentations.
Other highlights of this meeting were the watch meetings hosted in 14 CQUIN member countries, at which participants met to view the virtual event and to discuss and develop country action plans to drive MCH services. The action plans will include priorities to improve differentiated MCH for pregnant and nonpregnant women and services for postpartum women and their babies.
“This meeting was an excellent opportunity for countries to discuss policy gaps in the provision of MCH services and to advocate for innovations that will support the implementation of DSD for HIV-positive women at different stages of their reproductive health,” said Peter Preko, MB.ChB, MPH, CQUIN project director.
Going forward, the CQUIN team will follow up with country stakeholders to prioritize CQUIN support for country plans, and to launch CQUIN’s MCH community of practice.
“We are counting on this community of practice to bridge the gaps between policy, pilot projects, and full MCH program scale-up and implementation,” said Tsiouris.
According to Miriam Rabkin, MD, MPH, ICAP’s director for Health Systems Strategies and principal investigator for CQUIN, the meeting was to highlight the importance of designing differentiated service delivery models for women throughout the life course, including women who are not pregnant, pregnant women, and postpartum and breastfeeding women and their infants. “We were delighted to have the active engagement of 20 country teams and more than 650 people, and we look forward to the ongoing exchange of experiences and best practices in this critical area of HIV programs,” said Dr. Rabkin.
Team Burundi Watch Party