Health providers’ experience and perceptions on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV services for children, adolescents and young people

A 2021 cross-sectional survey in sub-Saharan Africa

In April 2020, PATA surveyed its network to ascertain COVID-19 preparedness, information needs, and possible impacts on HIV service delivery (see results). The results shaped much of PATA’s activities with our network over the last year and advocacy messages at national, regional, and global platforms. When the 2020 survey was carried out, the pandemic hadn’t hit sub-Saharan Africa with nearly the same intensity as in other parts of the world. That of course had changed by late 2021, so we decided to again survey frontline health workers that deliver HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services to children, adolescents, and young people, including clinical staff based at health facilities and community-based organisations. We wanted to do a ‘temperature check’ to find out how frontline health workers in sub-Saharan Africa were coping with COVID-19 and how the disease had impacted paediatric and adolescent HIV service delivery across the continuum of prevention, treatment care and support.

The 2021 health provider COVID-19 survey, Voices from the Frontline, was developed by a consultant, drawing from the 2020 PATA survey, a desk review, and collaborating with PATA to clarify what additional information was desired. The survey sought to find out perceptions from health providers on how COVID-19 had impacted them, HIV and sexual health services to children and adolescents, what they’d found most challenging, their perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines, what support and resources they’d had access to, what can be done to improve service delivery at their facility, and what training and resource gaps persist.