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Integration of HIV and Other Prevalent Relevant Infectious Disease Care into Primary Medical Care
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HIV is rapidly expanding in Latin America, and among the Latin American countries with highest HIV prevalence, four are located in Central America. Notably, AIDS is among the 10 leading causes of death in three of the six countries in Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama), and among the Latin American population with HIV/AIDS (1.7 million), an estimated 200,000 people are in Central America. The region of Central America, including the Dominican Republic, is also suffering from insufficient development of primary health care. One of PAHO’s area of work is in health systems strengthening, including integration of HIV care into primary care.
CCGHE collaborated with PAHO and the Gorgas Memorial Institute in Panama to develop and deploy a multinational HIV training program in Central America entitled, "Integration of HIV and other prevalent infectious disease care into primary medical care.” The program aims to strengthen the knowledge and skills of health workers in Latin America and the Caribbean to integrate HIV and other infectious disease care into primary care with a special emphasis on prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission. While traditional education strategies to integrate HIV care into primary medical care in Central America have targeted managers or higher-level officials, this program targeted local health workers, including doctors, nurses, community health workers, and health administrators, who work directly in primary care in underserved areas with limited access to both health services and and traditional on-site training. The curriculum focused on principles of HIV care and health systems using a blended educational approach of an 8-week online component, a week-long on-site problem-solving workshop, and individualized project-based interventions with local tutors mentoring the participants through the whole process. Originally deployed in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama, the program was subsequently re-configured into a self-paced online course for low or high bandwidth Internet connection. The course was offered in 8 modules with 45 lectures (28 required and 17 optional). All materials were in Spanish, and each module included a pre- and post-test to measure improvement among key knowledge areas; a Certificate of Achievement was offered.