Opportunities and barriers for implementation of integrated TB and HIV care in lower level health units: experiences from a rural western Ugandan district

Afr Health Sci. 2010 Dec;10(4):312-9.


Background: As countries with a high burden of TB and HIV roll out integrated TB/HIV care, there is need to assess possibility of lower level health units treating TB to provide integrated TB/HIV care.

Objective: To determine barriers and opportunities for provision of integrated TB/HIV care in lower level health units offering TB treatment in Mbarara district, Uganda.

Methods: Conducted key informant interviews, interviewed health workers and observed services offered.

Results: 22 health units were assessed and 88 health workers were interviewed. Of the 18 health units mandated to offer laboratory services, 55.6% and 38.9% were able to offer rapid HIV-testing and ZN staining respectively. Understaffing, lack of capacity to diagnose HIV and TB, lack of guidelines to inform care options of TB/HIV co-infected patients and insufficient knowledge and skills among health workers towards provision of integrated TB/HIV care were mentioned as barriers to provision of integrated TB/HIV services.

Conclusion: To offer integrated TB/HIV services at lower level health units currently offering TB stand alone services, there is need to address gaps in knowledge and skills among health workers, laboratory diagnostics, staffing levels, medical supplies and infrastructure.

Keywords: Opportunities; Uganda; barriers; integrated TB/HIV care; lower health units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated* / standards
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • National Health Programs
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Health Services* / standards
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tuberculosis* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis* / therapy
  • Uganda
  • Workforce