Voices from the front lines: A qualitative study of integration of HIV, tuberculosis, and primary healthcare services in Johannesburg, South Africa

Naomi Lince-Deroche, Rahma Leuner, Sharon Kgowedi, Aneesa Moolla, Sinethemba Madlala, Pertunia Manganye, Barbara Xhosa, Caroline Govathson, Takiyah White Ndwanya, Lawrence Long, Peter M. Mugo
2020 PLoS ONE  
In South Africa, in 2013-2014, provision of antiretroviral treatment (ART) shifted in some areas from NGOs to public facilities. Tuberculosis (TB) management has also been integrated into public services. We aimed to explore the opinions and experiences of service managers and healthcare providers regarding integration of HIV and TB services into primary healthcare services. The study sites included three clinics in one peri-urban/urban administrative region of Johannesburg. From March 2015 to
more » ... From March 2015 to August 2016, trained interviewers conducted semi-structured interviews with purposively selected participants. Participants were eligible if they were city/regional managers, clinic managers, or healthcare providers responsible for HIV, TB, non-communicable diseases, or sexual and reproductive health at the three study sites. We used a grounded theory approach for iterative, qualitative analysis, and produced descriptive statistics for quantitative data. We interviewed 19 individuals (nine city/regional managers, three clinic managers, and seven nurses). Theoretical definitions of integration varied, as did actual practice. Integration of HIV treatment had been anticipated, but only occurred when required due to shifts in funding for ART. The change was rapid, and some clinics felt unprepared. That said, nearly all respondents were in favor of integrated care. Perceived benefits included comprehensive case management, better client-nurse interactions, and reduced stigma. Barriers to integration included staff shortages, insufficient training and experience, and outdated clinic infrastructure. There were also concerns about the impact of integration on staff workloads and waiting times. Finally, there were concerns about TB integration due to infection control issues. Integration is multi-faceted and often contingent on local, if not site-specific, factors. In the future in South Africa and in other settings contending with health service reorganization, staff consultations prior to and throughout phase-in of services changes could contribute to improved understanding of operational requirements, including staff needs, and improved patient outcomes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0230849 pmid:33031399 fatcat:44vl3wdkynacxhvz5ixcmssdqq