Can text messages help people living with HIV?
ARK has partnered with Vodacom Mozambique to trial the use of SMS technology in improving the adherence to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Launched in Maputo province, this 18-month trial across six health centres will enrol 932 patients on ART. All HIV+ pregnant women seeking treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission will also be included.
Patients will receive appointment reminders and educational health messages by SMS in a bid to combat the high rate of patients lost to follow-up. According to the Ministry of Health, 18% of patients with HIV in December 2010 failed to return for treatment. To be effective and reduce the incidence of morbidity and mortality, 100% adherence to HIV treatment is vital. Without it, the virus becomes resistant and patients can spread resistant strains to their partners.
The study, implemented by ARK in partnership with the Ministry of Health with all SMS related costs covered by Vodacom, will make a significant contribution to the evidence base for technology's impact on improved health outcomes.