The National, Tuesday 21st August, 2012
A TEAM of HIV experts from Thailand and the United States of America have arrived in the country to support HIV services here.They will be in the country until Aug 31.US Embassy public diplomacy assistant Gloria Willie said the team was here to continue US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention support for quality HIV services. She said Papua New Guinea accounted for 19 out of every 20 cases in the Pacific region. Willie said as the government expanded its national HIV/AIDS programme and many more Papua New Guineans received treatment, “CDC is working closely with the government and other partners to ensure high-quality care for people living with HIV”. “One innovative tool being introduced is HIVQUAL.
“This is a system developed in the US and refined in Thailand and now being implemented worldwide,” she said. “The HIVQUAL system combines tools such as software and new approaches for measuring and improving the quality of HIV care and treatment. “Since 2009, CDC experts from Thailand have been working with Papua New Guinea to pilot HIVQUAL in several clinics and hospitals around the country.”
She said the CDC visit to the country coincided with new results from sites using the HIVQUAL model and software. Leading HIVQUAL experts from around the world will work with HIV/AIDS programme staff to analyse these results, mentoring them in how to assess the quality of care that patients received and ways to improve.
Willie said one such expert was US Department of Health AIDS Institute New York medical director Dr Bruce Agins, and one of the original designers of HIVQUAL.
Agins will discuss quality improvement in health with medical students and residents at the University of Papua New Guinea. “I am impressed by the government’s commitment to high quality HIV services and by the hard work of medical staff charged with saving the lives of HIV/AIDS patients,” he said.
The head of the HIVQUAL programme in Papua New Guinea, Dr Nick Mawe Dala, is anticipating this seventh CDC-Papua New Guinea HIVQUAL workshop while emphasising the critical importance of on-the-ground benefits that will be realised from planned CDC visits to HIV clinics in Port Moresby (Heduru clinic), Goroka (Goroka Michael Alpers clinic), and Mt Hagen (Tininga clinic).