Scaling Up Paediatric HIV Care with an Integrated, Family-Centred Approach: An Observational Case Study from Uganda

Family-centred HIV care models have emerged as an approach to better target children and their caregivers for HIV testing and care, and further provide integrated health services for the family unit’s range of care needs. While there is significant international interest in family-centred approaches, there is a dearth of research on operational experiences in implementation and scale-up. Our retrospective case study examined best practices and enabling factors during scale-up of family-centred care in ten health facilities and ten community clinics supported by a non-governmental organization, Mildmay, in Central Uganda. Methods included key informant interviews with programme management and families, and a desk review of hospital management information systems (HMIS) uptake data. In the 84 months following the scale-up of the family-centred approach in HIV care, Mildmay experienced a 50-fold increase of family units registered in HIV care, a 40-fold increase of children enrolled in HIV care, and nearly universal coverage of paediatric cotrimoxazole prophylaxis. The Mildmay experience emphasizes the importance of streamlining care to maximize paediatric capture. This includes
integrated service provision, incentivizing care-seeking as a family, creating child-friendly service environments, and minimizing missed paediatric testing opportunities by institutionalizing early infant diagnosis and provider-initiated testing and counselling. Task-shifting towards nurse-led clinics with community outreach support enabled rapid scale-up, as did an active management structure that allowed for real-time review and corrective action. The Mildmay experience suggests that family-centred approaches are operationally feasible, produce strong coverage outcomes, and can be well-managed during rapid scale-up