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Open Access Research article

Evaluation of the Rapid Scale-up of Collaborative TB/HIV Activities in TB Facilities in Rwanda, 2005-2009

Eric S Pevzner1*, Greet Vandebriel2, David W Lowrance3, Michel Gasana4 and Alyssa Finlay1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of TB Elimination, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

2 International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, Columbia University, Kigali, Rwanda

3 Global AIDS Program, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kigali, Rwanda

4 Rwanda Biomedical Centre, National TB Programme, Kigali, Rwanda

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:550  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-550

Published: 11 July 2011

Abstract

Background

In 2005, Rwanda drafted a national TB/HIV policy and began scaling-up collaborative TB/HIV activities. Prior to the scale-up, we evaluated existing TB/HIV practices, possible barriers to policy and programmatic implementation, and patient treatment outcomes. We then used our evaluation data as a baseline for evaluating the national scale-up of collaborative TB/HIV activities from 2005 through 2009.

Methods

Our baseline evaluation included a cross-sectional evaluation of 23/161 TB clinics. We conducted structured interviews with patients and clinic staff and reviewed TB registers and patient records to assess HIV testing practices, provision of HIV care and treatment for people with TB that tested positive for HIV, and patients' TB treatment outcomes. Following our baseline evaluation, we used nationally representative TB/HIV surveillance data to monitor the scale-up of collaborative TB/HIV activities

Results

Of 207 patients interviewed, 76% were offered HIV testing, 99% accepted, and 49% reported positive test results. Of 40 staff interviewed, 68% reported offering HIV testing to >50% of patients. From 2005-2009, scaled-up TB/HIV activities resulted in increased HIV testing of patients with TB (69% to 97%) and provision of cotrimoxazole (15% to 92%) and antiretroviral therapy (13% to 49%) for patients with TB disease and HIV infection (TB/HIV). The risk of death among patients with TB/HIV relative to patients with TB not infected with HIV declined from 2005 (RR = 6.1, 95%CI 2.6, 14.0) to 2007 (RR = 1.8, 95%CI 1.68, 1.94).

Conclusions

Our baseline evaluation highlighted that staff and patients were receptive to HIV testing. However, expanded access to testing, care, and treatment was needed based on the proportion of patients with TB having unknown HIV status and the high rate of HIV infection and poorer TB treatment outcomes for patients with TB/HIV. Following our evaluation, scale-up of TB/HIV services resulted in almost all patients with TB knowing their HIV status. Scale-up also resulted in dramatic increases in the uptake of lifesaving HIV care and treatment coinciding with a decline in the risk of death among patients with TB/HIV.