HITSystem (HIV Infant Tracking System)
– How the HITSystem is Saving Lives and Ending HIV Transmission in Africa –
HIV/AIDS is one of the most devastating epidemics in human history, claiming millions of lives and affecting millions more. In Africa, where the majority of people living with HIV reside, the disease poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of mothers and children, especially those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Fortunately, there is a way to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and ensure that infants born to HIV-positive mothers receive timely diagnosis and treatment. It is called the HITSystem, an innovative online system that facilitates improved communication between clinics, laboratories, and mothers to ultimately improve care for HIV-exposed infants.
The HITSystem was developed by Global Health Innovations (GHI), a non-profit organization that utilizes existing technology and scalable processes to implement new and existing treatments for HIV/AIDS and other diseases. GHI’s vision is to create an AIDS-free world by eliminating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The HITSystem works by using an algorithm based on the infant’s date of birth to establish alerts for the eight critical steps of PMTCT care, such as antenatal testing, antiretroviral therapy, early infant diagnosis, and postnatal follow-up. The system sends automated reminders to health workers and mothers via SMS or email, ensuring that no one is left behind or forgotten.
The system also collects and analyzes data on PMTCT outcomes, such as maternal viral load, infant HIV status, retention in care, and mortality. This allows health workers and managers to monitor and evaluate the quality and impact of their services, identify gaps and challenges, and make informed decisions to improve their performance.
Since its introduction in 2012, the HITSystem has supported HIV services for over 42,000 pregnant women and mothers living with HIV and 50,000 infants born to mothers living with HIV across over 100 hospitals in Kenya and Tanzania. This includes approximately 15,000 infants and 6,000 women in Kenya and 36,000 women as well as 35,000 infants in Tanzania.
The results have been remarkable. According to GHI’s research, the HITSystem has significantly increased the rates of antenatal testing, early infant diagnosis, antiretroviral therapy initiation, retention in care, and viral suppression among mothers and infants. It has also reduced the rates of infant HIV infection and mortality by more than half.
The HITSystem is not only a life-saving intervention for those affected by HIV/AIDS, but also a cost-effective one. GHI estimates that the HITSystem saves about $1.4 million per year in Kenya alone by averting new infections and deaths. Moreover, the system is adaptable and scalable to other settings and diseases, such as cervical cancer, tuberculosis, and COVID-19.
The HITSystem is a testament to GHI’s mission to improve the overall health of children and mothers and provide solutions that save lives. It is also a proof of concept that technology can be leveraged to enhance health systems and empower communities in low-resource settings.
GHI’s work is made possible by the collaboration and support of various partners, such as the Kenya Ministry of Health, the Tanzania Ministry of Health, KEMRI, CDC, USAID, UNICEF, EGPAF, CHAI, I-TECH, AMPATH, ICAP, UCSF, University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, among others.
If you want to learn more about GHI’s work or support their cause, you can contact us, or follow us on social media. You can also donate to our programs or join our team of dedicated and experienced healthcare workers.
Together, we can make a difference in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and creating an AIDS-free world.