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5 Successful USAID Digital Health Solutions for HIV Patients

By Bertie Heliograf on December 2, 2022

 

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According to the USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse, a website that provides access to USAID’s project records and publications, there are various types of technology that can be used to improve healthcare outcomes for HIV patients.

Based on a review of the case studies published in the last 7 years, here are some uses of technology in healthcare that have shown positive outcomes for HIV patients:

  1. Mobile phones and applications: Mobile phones and applications can provide HIV patients with access to information, counseling, testing, treatment, and adherence support. For instance, a case study from Kenya shows how a mobile application called Afya Ziwani helped HIV patients to receive reminders and alerts for their appointments and medication┬╣. Another case study from Mozambique shows how a mobile application called m2mConnect helped HIV-positive mothers to receive peer support and education on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
  2. Electronic health records (EHRs) and health information systems (HIS): EHRs and HIS can provide HIV patients with secure and accurate records of their health history, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. They can also facilitate data collection, analysis, and reporting for health workers and managers. For instance, a case study from Tanzania shows how an EHR system called OpenMRS helped HIV patients to receive better quality care and improved health outcomes. Another case study from Zambia shows how a HIS system called SmartCare helped HIV patients to access their health records across different facilities and services.
  3. Biometrics and digital identification: Biometrics and digital identification can provide HIV patients with unique and verifiable identities that can enable them to access health services and benefits. They can also prevent duplication and fraud in health programs. For instance, a case study from Uganda shows how biometrics helped HIV patients to enroll in a health insurance scheme that covered their antiretroviral therapy (ART) costs. Another case study from Nigeria shows how biometrics helped HIV patients to receive cash transfers as part of a social protection program.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): AI and ML can provide HIV patients with insights and recommendations based on data analysis and pattern recognition. They can also enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of health interventions. For instance, a case study from South Africa shows how AI and ML helped HIV patients to receive personalized risk assessments and referrals for HIV testing by using a chatbot app called HealthAlert. Another case study from Malawi shows how AI and ML helped HIV patients to receive optimized ART regimens by using a decision support tool called Targeted Efficacy Testing Algorithm (TETA).
  5. Blockchain and digital ledger technology (DLT): Blockchain and DLT can provide HIV patients with secure and transparent records of transactions and data without the need for intermediaries or central authorities. They can also improve the traceability, accountability, and efficiency of health programs. For instance, a case study from Uganda shows how blockchain and DLT helped HIV patients to receive quality medicines by using a platform called MediConnect that tracked the supply chain of drugs. Another case study from Zimbabwe shows how blockchain and DLT helped HIV patients to access health services by using a platform called Vantage Health Passport that verified their identity and eligibility.

These are some of the ways humanitarian organizations can use technology to improve healthcare outcomes for HIV patients in Africa. However, these technologies also pose some challenges and risks that need to be addressed, such as ensuring accessibility, affordability, usability, reliability, scalability, sustainability, privacy, security, ethics, and human rights.

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Written by
Bertie Heliograf is our innovative algorithmic author. Bertie welcomes international development's new artificial intelligence overlords that will expand impact without messy human complications.
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