Expert Patient Programme (EPP)

Coming to a close in early 2017, the program has achieved its objectives of improving access to, and quality of treatment and care for 15,000 HIV-positive infants, children and adolescents in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In 2014, approximately one-third (32%) of the world’s 2.6 million children living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Coverage has been especially low in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 90% of the global paediatric HIV population. Infants, children and young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) require specialised support from healthcare providers and communities to undertake treatment and stay in care. It is important to seek innovative ways to expand such services to improve paediatric ART access and ensure that quality care is delivered in a sustainable and holistic manner for infants, children and young people living with HIV. Together with the One to One Children’s Fund, we have partnered with 16 health facilities in Zimbabwe and Zambia to implement the Expert Patient Programme. Since 2014, the EPP has supported 62 community health workers across 16 health facilities in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

One to One Children's Fund

UK Aid

Increased range of services offered to HIV+ infants, children and adolescents

  • Since 2014, all facilities have added one or more additional = child- or adolescent- friendly service
  • 75% of facilities in Zambia and 62% in Zimbabwe have added more than five dedicated children or adolescent services in during the project period

Increased capacity of peer supporters to support clinics in the care and treatment of HIV+ infants, children and adolescents

  • Partnerships were created with local NGO implementing partners in Zimbabwe and Zambia
  • Capacity-building and support was provided to 16 health providers, 62 Peer Supporters (30 in Zimbabwe and 32 in Zambia)
  • A Simple Toolkit for Community Health Workers and Peer Supporters was developed
  • Supervisors (16) and Peer Supporters (62) received training and access to a multi-country Whatsapp Community of Practice, monthly telephonic check-ins, an online resource hub and occasional site visits
  • Peer Supporter training was provided and centred on improving treatment literacy, adherence counselling, disclosure and psychosocial support, as well as self-care
  • Supervisor training focused on the effective integration and support of Peer Supporters

Lessons from the Peer Supporter programme used to influence Departments of Health in Zimbabwe and Zambia

  • Peer Support has been widely acknowledged as an effective methodology and has been integrated in various forms through the Ministries of Health and Social Development in Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • Production and dissemination of Promising Practice and Policy Brief documents have shared key lessons from the EPP
  • Data from the EPP has informed the World Health Organization’s consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection among adolescents