Friday, 8 January 2016

Spending less hours in the field while improving our service delivery.

During another of my field trips, I went on a field visit with Molly and Ali to one of the TASO Mulago Community Drug Distribution Points in Kasangati. It was a 20 minute drive to the place and I had another learning session while we traveled there and back.

A Community Drug Distribution Point (CDDP), is a central place chosen by a group of registered TASO clients from where they can pick up their drug refills from TASO staff. This is part of the TASO Community ART model in which client satisfaction is met by reducing their costs and distance of travel to the Center and also giving a chance to TASO to provide them its services within the clients' environment. 

Kasangati is one of many such points served by TASO Mulago. The clients at this CDDP, and like in all other TASO CDDPs, are stable on their antiretroviral treatment, are above 18 years (in other words not children) and they have been assessed by both the Counseling and Medical team and have been found suitable to receive their drug refills this way. 

Molly is a Counselor while Ali is a clinician. On this day, they had gone to take ARV refills, assess clients in need of any psychosocial or medical support and also to further sensitize the community about HIV prevention as well as a new programme being rolled out that will require clients to take lead in their own drug distribution.

TASO has learned from its many years of service but especially through sharing experiences with partner or similar organisations and has therefore improved the community ART programme. It continuously morphs to suit the environment and also to improve on service delivery. This means that where it used to spend 8 hours to offer services at a CDDP, now it takes 2 hours to perform all the duties at the same CDDP. 

The minute we arrive, Molly and Ali greet the clients gathered, hold a health talk to address general health issues including a Question and Answer session. They then ask them to split into their groups for drug distribution by thire client leaders while Molly assesses those not yet in a group for counseling and Ali handles the clinical matters. With practice, the teams now work efficiently, the clients feel more involved and are taking on more responsibility for their health and the bulk of the work is not left to the TASO staff alone.

Speaking to a group of clients, I found that when they come together, they form a support group through which they help each other even beyond the mere picking of drugs. They also appreciate this new approach because when they are done at the CDDP, they can easily gone back and catch up on their work for the rest of the day. They also feel that Molly and Ali (and other TASO staff) work better when they do not have a very long line of clients to serve. A CDDP has fewer clients than the Center or unit.

Thank you to Molly and Ali for letting me tag along and ask questions. 

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