Cell Phone-Based and Internet-Based Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Antiretroviral Treatment Program During Rapid Scale-Up in Rwanda: TRACnet, 2004-2010
JAIDS-JOURNAL OF ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROMES
University of Maryland Baltimore, University System of Maryland, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - USA, Minist Hlth, US Ctr Dis Control & Prevent
Background: Monitoring and evaluation of antiretroviral treatment (ART) scale-up has been challenging in resource-limited settings. We describe an innovative cell-phone-based and internet-based reporting system (TRACnet) utilized in Rwanda.
Methods: From January 2004 to June 30, 2010, all health facilities with ART services submitted standardized monthly aggregate reports of key indicators. National cohort data were analyzed to examine trends in characteristics of patients initiating ART and cumulative cohort outcomes. Estimates of HIV-infected patients eligible for ART were obtained from Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (Estimation and Projection Package-Spectrum, 2010).
Results: By June 30, 2010, 295 (65%) of 451 health centers, District and referral hospitals provided ART services; of these, 255 (86%) were located outside Kigali, the capital. Cell phone-based and internet-based reporting was used by 253 (86%) and 42 (14%), respectively. As of June 30, 2010, 83,041 patients were alive on ART, 6171 (6%) had died, and 9621 (10%) were lost-to-follow-up. Of those alive on ART, 7111 (8.6%) were children, 50,971 (61.4%) were female, and 1823 (2.2%) were on a second-line regimen. The proportion of all patients initiating ART at World Health Organization clinical stages 3 and 4 declined from 65% in 2005 to 27% in 2010. National ART coverage of eligible patients increased from 13% in 2005 to 79% in 2010.
Conclusions: Rwanda has successfully expanded ART access and achieved high national ART coverage among eligible patients. TRACnet captured essential data about the ART program during rapid scale-up. Cell phone-based and internet-based reporting may be useful for monitoring and evaluation of similar public health initiatives in other resource-limited settings.