Improving Access to Viral Load Monitoring through Viral Load Camps in Northern Uganda
To ensure viral load suppression is being monitored for people living with HIV, the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems project (ASSIST) is working with the district health offices in northern Uganda to increase access to viral load monitoring with a focus on the backlog of patients. Conducting viral load camps was one of the innovations taken up by ASSIST to improve access to viral load monitoring in northern Uganda to reduce on the backlog of clients with missing viral load test results. To prepare for the camps, viral load eligible patients were clustered by villages and resources were mobilized. At the camps, the health workers at the camp venue took the lead in conducting the camp and they were supported by the District Lab Focal Persons and district HIV focal person from the district health office. District-based ASSIST staff also provided additional support to the team. In a few instances where the anticipated load was high, health workers were mobilized from neighbouring facilities to provide extra help. There was an increase in clients accessing viral load testing during the intervention period. A total of 5,664 patients received viral load testing in 11 weeks during the intervention.