Ange Josette Mizero is ICAP Burundi’s new quality improvement and quality assurance lead with extensive experience in quality improvement related to HIV program implementation.

Benjamin Nicayenzi is the national coordinator for the National Network of Positives in Burundi RRP+, an organization at the forefront of providing differentiated service delivery (DSD) to recipients of care.

Janvière Nzorijana, MD, is the medical coordinator for the Society for Women against AIDS in Africa (SWAA) Burundi, a national organization and pioneer that has been in the fight against HIV in Burundi for over a decade.

This is Burundi’s second time participating in a CQUIN annual meeting since the country joined the network in July 2020. As part of its DSD goals, Burundi is focused on extending its community DSD models for recipients of care.

The 5th CQUIN annual meeting gave Burundi’s stakeholders the platform to gain insights into DSD implementation and scale up, and to learn from the experience of other CQUIN member countries.

Why is Burundi prioritizing the expansion of community-based DSD models of care? 

BN: Burundi needs to prioritize community-based DSD because it is the recipients of care at the center of the concept and implementation of the DSD. Recipients of care are not just passive actors but actively advocate for care and treatment models that consider their needs ensuring openness, visibility, positive living, and the empowerment of the recipients of care themselves.

JN: When there is local ownership of a DSD strategy, it enables people living with HIV to maintain and sustain treatment and care services. A few years ago, the Global Fund supported SWAA in implementing community-based antiretroviral treatment (ART) groups. When funding ended, the strategy continued because the recipients of care themselves agreed to provide financial support to facilitate the transport of their peers to go to the health facility to pick up multi-month provisions of ART for the whole group to sustain the ART dispensing model.

What have been some of the highlights from the CQUIN 5th annual meeting?

AJM: These four days of learning and experience sharing with different countries involved in DSD implementation have helped expand my knowledge as a technician in the fight against HIV to reach epidemic control. Burundi only supports one type of community group model, and diversification and choice for recipients of care are unavailable. The meeting has been an opportunity for me to follow the implementation of a DSD model mix in several countries and see how much it has contributed to epidemic control. The good practices learned from other countries’ experiences will allow Burundi to define appropriate DSD models and expand DSD at a faster pace.

JN: The meeting allowed SWAA Burundi to learn from other network countries. SWAA will continue to support recipients of care by improving DSD implementation in supported facilities. The next steps for SWAA Burundi are to mobilize recipients of care to join community ART adherence groups and to expand community-based adherence groups to recipients of care living in rural areas.

What are your impressions of the CQUIN 5th Annual meeting?

AJM: It was an enriching experience overall. The meeting more than met my expectations as I learned new concepts in DSD, quality improvement and control, and monitoring and evaluation.

BN: The learning and experience sharing! Aside from this annual meeting, representatives of the recipients of care have participated in an experience-sharing south-to-south visit to Côte d’Ivoire to learn about DSD implementation. We hope these CQUIN activities inspire the success of DSD in Burundi.

The CQUIN 5th annual meeting took place virtually from November 16-19, 2021. Access meeting content here.

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