According to World Health Organisation, an Advanced HIV disease patient is one with a CD4 count below 200.
Daudi made expressed the sentiments during the launch of the continuation of an initiative dubbed ‘Advanced HIV Disease Quality Improvement Project’ in Salima District.
The launch function was organized by Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation with financial assistance from Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.
The project is aimed at improving quality in the management of Advanced HIV patients and upscale screening of the patients.
She said the country lags behind in screening and managing advanced HIV disease, a development which she said leads to deaths that could have been avoided.
“It is not surprising to note that we have not registered a significant reduction in deaths for this group of HIV patients,” she said.
She added: “Clients diagnosed with advanced HIV diseases are not given a treatment of good quality, which is causing high death rate amongst patients with advanced HIV disease.”
The Deputy Health Minister, therefore, commended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the project which seeks to capitalize on the successes of the pilot project: “Advanced HIV Disease Quality Improvement Collaborative Project” which was implemented from October 2020 to October 2022 in targeted seven districts.
Project Lead for the Foundation, Dr. Eddie Richard Matiya, said the project’s main objective remains to improve quality models to enhance outcomes of the advanced HIV disease program by defining and scaling up practical models for providing access to advanced HIV disease services for people living with HIV in Malawi.
Matiya said the project also seeks to improve screening of people with advanced HIV in their communities by strengthening the implementation of services for Advanced HIV disease in selected facilities in Malawi.
“We are encouraging the use of Advanced HIV Disease-specific Quality Improvement tools and processes to support national scale-up and screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Advanced HIV Diseases,” he said.
He said they are more concerned with patients with advanced HIV because they are at a higher risk of catching other diseases such as Tuberculosis, meningitis, and bacterial infections which are the leading cause of deaths.
“The project targets 41 health centers. These facilities have improved screening for opportunistic diseases where the patients are put on early treatment.
“Therefore, the type of care provided in these health centers is to be used as a model of care for patients with advanced HIV disease,” Matiya said.
The pilot project was implemented in seven districts of Karonga, Mzimba North, Nkhotakota, Mangochi, Dedza, Ntcheu, and Mchinji. The current project will run from 2023 to 2024.