Patient perspectives on the helpfulness of a community health worker program for HIV care engagement in Tanzania.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

ABSTRACTTask-shifting is a valuable approach for redistributing clinical tasks to nonprofessional health workers and relieving human resource shortages. The Community-Based HIV Services (CBHS) program is a national cohort of volunteer community health workers (CHWs) who support HIV care engagement at clinics in Tanzania. We recruited 23 patients initiating HIV care at two clinics to understand their experiences with the CBHS program. Participants completed qualitative interviews by telephone discussing the perceived helpfulness of the program, their level of connection with CHWs, and suggestions for improvement. Data were analyzed through an inductive, team-based qualitative approach. Most participants found the program to be helpful and described close, positive connections. CHWs offered education, emotional support to accept one's diagnosis and cope with stigma, and encouragement to remain engaged in HIV care. However, several participants described minimal, shallow contact with CHWs, and felt the program did not benefit their HIV care. Participants recommended increasing CHW efforts to engage people living with HIV (PLWH) in the broader community, and addressing socioeconomic barriers to care engagement. When contacts are consistent, the CBHS program is a strong resource for PLWH. To maximize the potential of the program, administrators should enhance oversight and extend new training opportunities for CHWs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Knettel, BA; Muhirwa, A; Wanda, L; Amiri, I; Muiruri, C; Fernandez, KM; Watt, MH; Mmbaga, BT; Relf, MV

Published Date

  • October 26, 2021

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 8

PubMed ID

  • 34702095

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9038954

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1360-0451

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/09540121.2021.1995840


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England