An audit of the standard of care received by HIV positive patients on ART at a community health centre in KZN.
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Introduction: South Africa has the highest number of HIV infected individuals in the world.2 The South African government has established National treatment guidelines for HIV positive patients to help ensure quality of care. The success of these guidelines depends on the commitment and level of adherence to them by hospitals and clinics. Aim: A descriptive study evaluating the standard of care received by HIV positive patients was undertaken at a community health centre in KwaDabeka, a semi-urban town in Kwa-Zulu Natal. This was benchmarked against the National ART Guidelines for 2010, which was the national policy at the time this study was undertaken. The objectives were to identify any deficiencies in the care of patients with HIV/AIDS, and to suggest possible solutions as well as to identify a demographic profile of the patients accessing care. Methods: The researcher selected three hundred and sixty patient files using a random process and then analyzed them. This sample size was calculated using a confidence interval of 95% of a total number of six thousand patients. Adult patients using ART for the period of 01 January 2011 until 31 December 2011 were only included. Pregnant patients and children were excluded from the study .The variables analyzed were generated using the pre-initiation, initiation and monitoring recommendations of the National ART Guidelines of 2010. A data sheet was drawn-up consisting of the various variables. This was analyzed using SPSS version 21. Simple descriptive statistics, univariate analysis, and frequency distribution tables were used to analyze the data. Tables, pie charts, and graphs have been used to represent the analyzed data. Results: Females comprised 65% and the mean patient age was 39 years. While the overall patient management was in accordance to the guidelines, there were major areas of con- compliance. These included the more than 80% of patients who did not have: pap smears; nutritional assessments; follow-up Tuberculosis (TB) symptom reviews; and mental health evaluations. In addition, there was a significant delay from obtaining a CD4 count to initiation of therapy of two months or longer in more than 50% of patients. Furthermore, the clinic did not comply with fast –tracking 84.5% of patients who needed to be initiated within two weeks of obtaining a CD4 count. Adverse events due to antiretroviral therapy were reported in approximately 41% of the patients, however, 25% did not have their regimen changed despite having a serious adverse event documented. The incidence of concurrent infection with TB was 32%, however none of the remaining non-infected patients (68%), received Isoniazid prophylaxis. Recommendations: The management of KwaDabeka CHC have significant challenges to overcome in order to optimise their treatment of HIV positive patients. Possible solutions must include access to the National ART Guidelines for all relevant health-care workers, regular medical update programmes on the management of HIV positive patients, and improving resources and relevant procedural skills.
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