Community health worker support to improve HIV treatment outcomes for older children and adolescents in Zimbabwe: a process evaluation of the ZENITH trial
BACKGROUND: Community health worker (CHW)-delivered support visits to children living with HIV and their caregivers significantly reduced odds of virological failure among the children in the ZENITH trial conducted in Zimbabwe. We conducted a process evaluation to assess fidelity, acceptability, and feasibility of this intervention to identify lessons that could inform replication and scale-up of this approach.
METHODS: Field manuals kept by each CHW, records from monthly supervisory meetings, and participant data collected throughout the trial were used to assess the intervention’s implementation. Data extracted from field manuals included visit type, content, and duration. Minutes from monthly supervisory meetings were used to capture CHW attendance.
RESULTS: The trial enrolled 172 participants in the intervention arm of whom 5 subsequently refused all visits, 1 died before the intervention could be delivered, and 1 could not be located. Manuals for 8 participants were not returned, 3 were incorrectly entered, and 1 manual was lost. We had 154 manuals available for analysis. A total of 1553 visits were successfully conducted (median 11 per participant, range 1-20). Additionally, CHWs made 85 visits where they were unable to make contact with the family. Thirteen (8.4%) participants received 5 or fewer visits, 10 moved out of the study area, and 3 died. CHWs discussed disclosure with the child/family for over 89% of participants and assisted clients with developing and reviewing their personal treatment plan with over 85% of participants. Of the 20 CHWs (3 male, 17 female) selected to implement the intervention, 19 were retained at the end of the trial.
CONCLUSIONS: The intervention was acceptable to participants with most receiving and accepting the required number of visits. Key strenghts were high staff retention and fidelity to the intervention. This community-based intervention was an acceptable and feasible approach to reduce virological failure among children living with HIV.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The ZENITH trial was registered on 25 October 2012 in the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry under the trial registration number PACTR201212000442288 . It can be found at http://www.pactr.org/ATMWeb/appmanager/atm/atmregistry?dar=true&tNo=PACTR20121200 0442288 .
Dziva Chikwari, C., Simms, V., Busza, J., Dauya, E., Bandason, T., Chonzi, P., . . . Ferrand, R. A. (2018). Community health worker support to improve HIV treatment outcomes for older children and adolescents in Zimbabwe: a process evaluation of the ZENITH trial. Implement Sci, 13(1), 70. doi:10.1186/s13012-018-0762-5