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Utilization of antiretroviral treatment in Ethiopia between February and December 2006: spatial, temporal, and demographic patterns

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Author(s): Kloos Helmut | Assefa Yibeltal | Adugna Aynalem | Mulatu Mesfin | Mariam Damen

Journal: International Journal of Health Geographics
ISSN 1476-072X

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 45;
Date: 2007;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background In 2003, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MOH) started to implement a national antiretroviral treatment (ART) program. Using data in the monthly HIV/AIDS Updates issued by the MOH, this paper examines the spatial and temporal distribution of ART on a population basis for Ethiopian towns and administrative zones and regions for the period February to December 2006. Results The 101 public ART hospitals treated 44,446 patients and the 91 ART health centers treated 1,599 patients in December 2006. The number of patients currently receiving ART doubled between February and December 2006 and the number of female patients aged 15 years and older surpassed male patients, apparently due to increased awareness and provision of free ART. Of 58,405 patients who ever started ART in December 2006, 46,045 (78.8%) were adhering to treatment during that month. Population coverage of ART was highest in the three urban administrative regions of Addis Ababa, Harari and Dire Dawa, in regional centers with referral hospitals, and in several small road side towns that had former mission or other NGO-operated hospitals. Hospitals in Addis Ababa had the largest patient loads (on average 850 patients) and those in SNNPR (Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Republic) (212 patients) and Somali (130 patients) regions the fewest patients. In bivariate tests, number of patients receiving treatment was significantly correlated with population size of towns, urban population per zone, number of hospitals per zone, and duration of ART services in 2006 (all p < 0.001). The stronger relationship with urban than total zonal populations (p < 0.001 versus p = 0.014) and the positive correlation between distance from 44 health centers to the nearest ART hospital and patients receiving treatment at these health centers may be due to a combination of differential accessibility of ART sites, patient knowledge and health-seeking behavior. Conclusion The sharp increase in ART uptake in 2006 is largely due to the rapid increase in the provision of free treatment at more sites. The marked variation in ART utilization patterns between urban and rural communities and among zones and regions requires further studies. Recommendations are made for further expansion and sustainability of the ART scale-up.

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