Indexed on: 06 Dec '14Published on: 06 Dec '14Published in: The Pan African medical journal
In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are major public health problems. In 2010, 64% of the 34 million of people infected with HIV were reported to be living in sub-Saharan Africa. Only 41% of eligible HIV-positive people had access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Regarding tuberculosis, in 2010, the region had 12% of the world's population but reported 26% of the 8.8 million incident cases and 254000 tuberculosis-related deaths. This paper aims to review missed opportunities for improving HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention and care. We conducted a systematic review in PubMed using the terms 'missed'(Title) AND 'opportunities'(Title). We included systematic review and original research articles done in sub-Saharan Africa on missed opportunities in HIV/AIDS and/or tuberculosis care. Missed opportunities for improving HIV/AIDS and/or tuberculosis care can be classified into five categories: i) patient and community; ii) health professional; iii) health facility; iv) local health system; and v) vertical programme (HIV/AIDS and/or tuberculosis control programmes). None of the reviewed studies identified any missed opportunities related to health system strengthening. Opportunities that are missed hamper tuberculosis and/or HIV/AIDS care in sub-Saharan Africa where health systems remain weak. What is still missing in the analysis of health experts is the acknowledgement that opportunities that are missed to strengthen health systems also undermine tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Studying why these opportunities are missed will help to understand the rationales behind the missed opportunities, and customize adequate strategies to seize them and for effective diseases control.