Background We implemented a facility-based intervention aimed at reducing the proportion of patients lost to follow-up at an out-patient HIV clinic in Jinja district, Eastern Uganda, over a period of 6 months (February-July 2012).
Methods The intervention was implemented with the aim of decreasing the proportion of patients lost to follow-up from 1% (23/2328) at baseline to 0.25% by July 2012. Simple and innovative strategies were introduced into the HIV clinic. These included retraining of clinic staffs on the importance of patients keeping their appointments; development of new messages on keeping appointments; retrieving patient files a day before the day of appointment; sending two text message reminders a day to the clinic; and actively following up patients who had not kept their appointments through home-visiting. At each follow-up visit, reasons for the patients’ failure to keep appointment were noted and information on age, gender, CD4 count (captured from patient records) and duration in HIV care was obtained. Data were fed into an IQ Care programme and analysed using Microsoft Excel.
Results The proportion of patients lost to follow-up decreased from 1% (23/2328) at baseline to 0.4% (9/2528) in 6 months. Men, those with a CD4 > 350, those aged < 30 years and those in care for < 1 year had the biggest decline in proportion of patients lost to follow-up compared to other patients.
Conclusion The proportion of patients lost to follow-up declined by 60% through use of simple and innovative strategies introduced in the HIV clinic.
- Eastern Uganda
- Lost to follow Up