HIV Fingerprint Project Launched

Patients living with HIV/Aids will now be
identified using fingerprints in a bid to
improve access and data collection
during a five-year Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) funded project.

The project titled, Monitoring and
Evaluation Technical Support (METS), will
help identify how many people are living
with the deadly disease and how many
people are taking antiretroviral drugs so
as to generate accurate nationally
accessible information on the HIV
epidemic was launched recently.

Prof William Bazeyo, the dean of
Makerere University School of Public
Health and also the METS principal
investigator, said the project will be
implemented in 48 districts across the
country where CDC operates. He added
that focus will be put on improving
leadership at district and hospital level,
help in monitoring and evaluation and
support data driven decision making,
among others.

“The project will be implemented in four
areas of monitoring and evaluation,
district led programming, case based
surveillance and health management
information systems. It will be
implemented by the School of Public
health,” Prof Bazeyo explained.

According to Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the
Minister of Health, the case based
surveillance area will focus on fingerprint
technology which will improve access to
services but also aid in tracking HIV
patients, drugs and generate
information that can be used for
decision making.

“There is a lot of duplicity by patients. A
patient can go to one testing centre
and goes to another less than a month
later and this goes on. If found HIV
positive, some fear that a stockout may
happen in an area and they register with
different antiretroviral therapy clinics.

This, sometimes leads to expiry of drugs
if the patient does not pick up the
medicines,” Dr Tumwesigye explained at
the launch of the project recently.

He added; “With this technology, a patient
will be identified using their fingerprint
and the information can be shared with
different clinics to avoid duplicity. We will
able to know the exact number of
people on treatment and how many
more need it.”

CDC country director, Dr Steven
Wiersma, added that even though the
country is moving toward achieving the
90-90-90 target of having 90 per cent
of the people tested for HIV, 90 per
cent of those found positive put on
treatment, there has been lack of
national data on HIV and its use.

what it has achieved
The project started work in 2015 and
according to Evelyn Akello, the METS
programme manager, since then, a lot of
achievements have been recorded.
Among these are 30 monitoring and
evaluation fellows being trained. Two
hundred and eighty health facilities have
been facilitated to have quality
improvement clinics while 978 health
staff trained in the same area. The
project is expected to end in 2020.

The Monitor

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