This week, CUAMM and GILEAD Sciences have inaugurated a new health center in Ngokolo, Shinyanga Region, Tanzania. The new health facility will strengthen health coverage in the region in order to provide quality health care to the most vulnerable segments of the population.
CUAMM and GILEAD Sciences, are working together in Tanzania to tackle HIV through the introduction of the Test&Treat approach, providing free care and treatment for HIV, implementing the latest WHO guidelines. The previous approach to the disease did not suggest immediate treatment for HIV-infected patients. Indeed, only those whose CD4 blood count was below 350 cells/mm3 received antiretroviral therapy. Due to geographical distances, the possible worsening of the disease and social stigma, there was major risk for the patient to get “lost” and to transmit the disease to others. The new Test&Treat approach recommends free HIV test and treatment to all those resulted positive, regardless of CD4 blood count.
The Test&Treat project involves hospitals, health centers and local communities in a continuum of care. It aims to decentralize HIV services from hospitals to primary care facilities and to shift tasks from doctors to nurses and community health workers. This model should make it easier to reach and manage patients that live in peripheral and more isolated areas.
This experience in Tanzania is a good example of a successful multilateral partnership, where the private sector, an NGO, the Government and the Catholic Church work in synergy to achieve great results for the most vulnerable population in Africa.