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Task-shifting HIV counselling and testing services in Zambia: the role of lay counsellors

Task-shifting HIV counselling and testing services in Zambia: the role of lay counsellors
Task-shifting HIV counselling and testing services in Zambia: the role of lay counsellors
BACKGROUND: The human resource shortage in Zambia is placing a heavy burden on the few health care workers available at health facilities. The Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership began training and placing community volunteers as lay counsellors in order to complement the efforts of the health care workers in providing HIV counselling and testing services. These volunteers are trained using the standard national counselling and testing curriculum. This study was conducted to review the effectiveness of lay counsellors in addressing staff shortages and the provision of HIV counselling and testing services.

METHODS: Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by means of semistructured interviews from all active lay counsellors in each of the facilities and a facility manager or counselling supervisor overseeing counseling and testing services and clients. At each of the 10 selected facilities, all counselling and testing record books for the month of May 2007 were examined and any recordkeeping errors were tallied by cadre. Qualitative data were collected through focus group discussions with health care workers at each facility.

RESULTS: Lay counsellors provide counselling and testing services of quality and relieve the workload of overstretched health care workers. Facility managers recognize and appreciate the services provided by lay counsellors. Lay counsellors provide up to 70% of counselling and testing services at health facilities. The data review revealed lower error rates for lay counsellors, compared to health care workers, in completing the counselling and testing registers.

CONCLUSION: Community volunteers, with approved training and ongoing supervision, can play a major role at health facilities to provide counselling and testing services of quality, and relieve the burden on already overstretched health care workers.
1478-4491
44-[8pp]
Sanjana, Parsa
5ecd6a3c-be01-426a-9aaf-2dd59bacf8c9
Torpey, Kwasi
815aebdc-b12c-4c50-b772-4e1923fd61c0
Schwarzwalder, Alison
4b73ebca-4c46-41da-aa55-082bbc1347bc
Simumba, Caroline
d610646f-32de-4028-b4c2-9b9fb7ac478d
Kasonde, Prisca
9296067c-a81d-4991-b8da-e4800136f3ed
Nyirenda, Lameck
3e85e14a-bf90-4381-ac35-8832b06076fa
Kapanda, Paul
dfc8a5ca-6b91-4c99-8244-7aa0b1875683
Kakungu-Simpungwe, Matilda
967f8ab8-ace9-445f-ba0b-f4a93244cd67
Kabaso, Mushota
180b4c6b-f956-4d1e-a371-ea03917ad42a
Thompson, Catherine
f0fa011e-fd46-4ced-a126-08d27eef46f5
Sanjana, Parsa
5ecd6a3c-be01-426a-9aaf-2dd59bacf8c9
Torpey, Kwasi
815aebdc-b12c-4c50-b772-4e1923fd61c0
Schwarzwalder, Alison
4b73ebca-4c46-41da-aa55-082bbc1347bc
Simumba, Caroline
d610646f-32de-4028-b4c2-9b9fb7ac478d
Kasonde, Prisca
9296067c-a81d-4991-b8da-e4800136f3ed
Nyirenda, Lameck
3e85e14a-bf90-4381-ac35-8832b06076fa
Kapanda, Paul
dfc8a5ca-6b91-4c99-8244-7aa0b1875683
Kakungu-Simpungwe, Matilda
967f8ab8-ace9-445f-ba0b-f4a93244cd67
Kabaso, Mushota
180b4c6b-f956-4d1e-a371-ea03917ad42a
Thompson, Catherine
f0fa011e-fd46-4ced-a126-08d27eef46f5

Sanjana, Parsa, Torpey, Kwasi, Schwarzwalder, Alison, Simumba, Caroline, Kasonde, Prisca, Nyirenda, Lameck, Kapanda, Paul, Kakungu-Simpungwe, Matilda, Kabaso, Mushota and Thompson, Catherine (2009) Task-shifting HIV counselling and testing services in Zambia: the role of lay counsellors. Human Resources for Health, 7 (1), 44-[8pp]. (doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-44). (PMID:19480710)

Record type: Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The human resource shortage in Zambia is placing a heavy burden on the few health care workers available at health facilities. The Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership began training and placing community volunteers as lay counsellors in order to complement the efforts of the health care workers in providing HIV counselling and testing services. These volunteers are trained using the standard national counselling and testing curriculum. This study was conducted to review the effectiveness of lay counsellors in addressing staff shortages and the provision of HIV counselling and testing services.

METHODS: Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by means of semistructured interviews from all active lay counsellors in each of the facilities and a facility manager or counselling supervisor overseeing counseling and testing services and clients. At each of the 10 selected facilities, all counselling and testing record books for the month of May 2007 were examined and any recordkeeping errors were tallied by cadre. Qualitative data were collected through focus group discussions with health care workers at each facility.

RESULTS: Lay counsellors provide counselling and testing services of quality and relieve the workload of overstretched health care workers. Facility managers recognize and appreciate the services provided by lay counsellors. Lay counsellors provide up to 70% of counselling and testing services at health facilities. The data review revealed lower error rates for lay counsellors, compared to health care workers, in completing the counselling and testing registers.

CONCLUSION: Community volunteers, with approved training and ongoing supervision, can play a major role at health facilities to provide counselling and testing services of quality, and relieve the burden on already overstretched health care workers.

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More information

Published date: 30 May 2009
Organisations: Mathematical Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 353683
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353683
ISSN: 1478-4491
PURE UUID: ff0a49e8-b17b-465a-909a-1fc5b3bcd3ca

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Date deposited: 13 Jun 2013 15:03
Last modified: 22 Jul 2022 18:34

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Contributors

Author: Parsa Sanjana
Author: Kwasi Torpey
Author: Alison Schwarzwalder
Author: Caroline Simumba
Author: Prisca Kasonde
Author: Lameck Nyirenda
Author: Paul Kapanda
Author: Matilda Kakungu-Simpungwe
Author: Mushota Kabaso
Author: Catherine Thompson

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