Impact of integration of sexual and reproductive health services on consultation duration times: results from the Integra Initiative

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Abstract

The lack of human resources is a key challenge in scaling up of HIV services in Africa’s health care system. Integrating HIV services could potentially increase their effectiveness and optimize the use of limited resources and clinical staff time. We examined the impact of integration of provider initiated HIV counselling and testing (PITC) and family planning (FP counselling and FP provision) services on duration of consultation to assess the impact of PITC and FP integration on staff workload. This study was conducted in 24 health facilities in Kenya under the Integra Initiative, a non-randomized, pre/post intervention trial to evaluate the impact of integrated HIV and sexual and reproductive health services on health and service outcomes. We compared the time spent providing PITC-only services, FP-only services and integrated PITC/FP services. We used log-linear regression to assess the impact of plausible determinants on the duration of clients’ consultation times. Median consultation duration times were highest for PITC-only services (30 min), followed by integrated services (10 min) and FP-only services (8 min). Times for PITC-only and FP-only services were 69.7% higher (95% Confidence Intervals (CIs) 35.8-112.0) and 43.9% lower (95% CIs −55.4 to − 29.6) than times spent on these services when delivered as an integrated service, respectively. The reduction in consultation times with integration suggests a potential reduction in workload. The higher consultation time for PITC-only could be because more pre- and post-counselling is provided at these stand-alone services. In integrated PITC/FP services, the duration of the visit fell below that required by HIV testing guidelines, and service mix between counselling and testing substantially changed. Integration of HIV with FP services may compromise the quality of services delivered and care must be taken to clearly specify and monitor appropriate consultation duration times and procedures during the process of integrating HIV and FP services.

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