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Globalization and Health

, 10:43

First Online: 27 May 2014Received: 13 February 2014Accepted: 16 May 2014DOI: 10.1186-1744-8603-10-43

Cite this article as: Assefa, Y., Alebachew, A., Lera, M. et al. Global Health 2014 10: 43. doi:10.1186-1744-8603-10-43


BackgroundAntiretroviral treatment ART was provided to more than nine million people by the end of 2012. Although ART programs in resource-limited settings have expanded treatment, inadequate retention in care has been a challenge. Ethiopia has been scaling up ART and improving retention defined as continuous engagement of patients in care in care. We aimed to analyze the ART program in Ethiopia.

MethodsA mix of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Routine ART program data was used to study ART scale up and patient retention in care. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with program managers.

ResultsThe number of people receiving ART in Ethiopia increased from less than 9,000 in 2005 to more than 439, 000 in 2013. Initially, the public health approach, health system strengthening, community mobilization and provision of care and support services allowed scaling up of ART services. While ART was being scaled up, retention was recognized to be insufficient. To improve retention, a second wave of interventions, related to programmatic, structural, socio-cultural, and patient information systems, have been implemented. Retention rate increased from 77% in 2004-5 to 92% in 2012-13.

ConclusionEthiopia has been able to scale up ART and improve retention in care in spite of its limited resources. This has been possible due to interventions by the ART program, supported by health systems strengthening, community-based organizations and the communities themselves. ART programs in resource-limited settings need to put in place similar measures to scale up ART and retain patients in care.

KeywordsAntiretroviral treatment Scaling up Retention in care Resource-limited settings Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1744-8603-10-43 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Yibeltal Assefa - Achamyeleh Alebachew - Meskele Lera - Lut Lynen - Edwin Wouters - Wim Van Damme


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