Using a Community-based Approach to Determine Best Practices for the Expansion of Access to Highly-active Anti-retroviral Therapy in a Resource-limited Setting

Dignitas International is a Toronto-based humanitarian organization, which works with the Malawian Ministry of Health to develop and disseminate a healthcare delivery model that increases access to essential HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support at the community-level. In 2004, Dignitas established its pilot project in Zomba, the fifth largest district in Malawi with the country's second highest adult HIV infection prevalence at 17.8%. The primary objective of the present project is to explore the general and context-specific barriers to expanding access to highly-active anti-retroviral therapy (or HAART) in Zomba, using a mix of key informant interviews and focus groups with community stakeholders (e.g., health workers, traditional healers), in order to improve service delivery and meet the demand for HIV/AIDS-related services. The proposed project is highly relevant for Dignitas' capacity to conduct and disseminate excellent and sound operational research in an effort to improve the international response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Beth Rachlis
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Donald Cole