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Exploring the Feasibility of Service Integration in a Low-Income Setting : A Mixed Methods Investigation into Different Models of Reproductive Health and HIV Care in Swaziland

Church, Kathryn and Wringe, Alison and Lewin, Simon and Ploubidis, George B and Fakudze, Phelele and Mayhew, Susannah H and , Integra Initiative (2015) Exploring the Feasibility of Service Integration in a Low-Income Setting : A Mixed Methods Investigation into Different Models of Reproductive Health and HIV Care in Swaziland. PLoS ONE, 10 (5). e0126144. ISSN 1932-6203. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0126144

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Abstract

Integrating reproductive health (RH) with HIV care is a policy priority in high HIV prevalence settings, despite doubts surrounding its feasibility and varying evidence of effects on health outcomes. The process and outcomes of integrated RH-HIV care were investigated in Swaziland, through a comparative case study of four service models, ranging from fully integrated to fully stand-alone HIV services, selected purposively within one town. A client exit survey (n=602) measured integrated care received and unmet family planning (FP) needs. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the degree of integration per clinic and client demand for services. Logistic regression modelling was used to test the hypothesis that clients at more integrated sites had lower unmet FP needs than clients in a stand-alone site. Qualitative methods included in-depth interviews with clients and providers to explore contextual factors influencing the feasibility of integrated RH-HIV care delivery; data were analysed thematically, combining deductive and inductive approaches. Results demonstrated that clinic models were not as integrated in practice as had been claimed. Fragmentation of HIV care was common. Services accessed per provider were no higher at the more integrated clinics compared to stand-alone models (p>0.05), despite reported demand. While women at more integrated sites received more FP and pregnancy counselling than stand-alone models, they received condoms (a method of choice) less often, and there was no statistical evidence of difference in unmet FP needs by model of care. Multiple contextual factors influenced integration practices, including provider de-skilling within sub-specialist roles; norms of task-oriented routinised HIV care; perceptions of heavy client loads; imbalanced client-provider interactions hindering articulation of RH needs; and provider motivation challenges. Thus, despite institutional support, factors related to the social context of care inhibited provision of fully integrated RH-HIV services in these clinics. Programmes should move beyond simplistic training and equipment provision if integrated care interventions are to be sustained.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 09:37
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2015 09:37
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