JSI RESOURCES: Publications

STAR-EC Technical Brief: Improving Referral Systems to Increase Access to HIV Treatment, Care, and Support Services in East Central Uganda


To ensure an effective continuum of response to HIV and AIDS, strong links must exist between health service providers and communities to increase the ease and consistency with which people access prevention, care, and treatment services. Networked health service providers at the community and facility levels are able to collaborate more effectively and consistently provide care and treatment to individuals and families. In 2009, East Central Uganda’s government health system was compromised by poor service linkage between communities and health facilities. This was especially problematic, given the region’s high HIV prevalence rate of 6.5 percent; people living with HIV (PLHIV) require chronic care and treatment in order to stay healthy and reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to others.

STAR-EC implemented patient-focused models of care, linking patients to facilities that offered a range of high-quality services, improving efficiency. This approach was coupled with a service delivery
model that also improved access to “wrap-around” (e.g., psychosocial, legal, income, and other support) services, resulting in an increase in service utilization. To strengthen referral networks between community structures and health facilities, STAR-EC undertook various strategies to increase the capacity for communication and knowledge sharing between community members and health practitioners at every level of the health system. The program worked to improve data collection and quality at all service delivery points to empower communities and facilities to better plan and coordinate activities. STAR-EC/JSI, 2016

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