Easing the Burden of Living with HIV through Multi-Month Dispensing

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Lead Paragraph/Summary

Eleven year-old Shy Helvi Isangu and her aunt Mpareko Kasova walk on average an hour each way to the Rundu District Hospital in Kavango East Region in Namibia to collect Helvi’s antiretrovirals. Mpareko who is her primary caretaker is dedicated to ensuring Helvi adheres to her antiretroviral therapy (ART). After their long journey, they patiently wait in line at the hospital’s ART clinic, which sees an average of 160 patients a day.

Helvi is one of thousands of children living with HIV/AIDS in Namibia. She started her ART in November 2016 when her HIV status first became known.

“Helvi is an orphan and has been living with HIV since she was born. She lost both her parents to AIDS and she has been living under my care but it wasn’t until 2016 that her HIV status became known to her,” Mpareko explained.

Helvi, an MMD and Pediatric Patient in Namibia
Helvi, an MMD and Pediatric Patient in Namibia
Eleven year-old Helvi Isangu at the Rundu State Hospital, Kavango Region, Namibia collecting her ART medication. Helvi is one of the children at Rundu State hospital receiving her ART medication through MMD. Photo: Salome Nzuma/GHSC-PSM
Body Text

On a recent trip to the ART Clinic Pharmacy, Helvi had met the eligibility criteria for multi-month dispensing (MMD) of her ART medication, after receiving counseling from the ART nurse who recommended her transition to MMD. Later, the pharmacist further explained to Helvi and her aunt about the 90-day supply of ART medication she would be receiving and what it would mean for her.

Missed school days, traveling to the hospital and spending numerous hours in line to collect her medication would be a thing of the past, thanks to MMD.

“Before Helvi began this treatment, she had lived a difficult and sickly life, but we are grateful that her medication is always available when we come to collect it at the clinic and she has responded very well to the treatment and improved her life,” Mpareko said.

Helvi is among a myriad of children in Namibia who have benefited from Namibia’s robust efforts to address and treat the needs of children living with HIV.

In order to facilitate scale-up of ART in Namibia, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) adopted MMD as a model to enhance HIV service delivery. MMD is now widely implemented in Namibia’s health facilities, helping achieve national HIV treatment goals.

The USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project works with the MoHSS to improve access to ART care and continued scale up of MMD so that patients reach up to six months of ARV refills. With MMD, patients live happier, healthier lives.