Antiretroviral Medication Adherence During The Ebola Epidemic In Sierra Leone

Ahmed Vandi

Abstract


The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first in West Africa. The outbreak affected multiple countries in West Africa. Worldwide, there have been 28,639 cases of Ebola virus disease and 11,316 deaths at 13 March 2016 in the world’s worst recorded Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
In 2002, the National Plan for HIV and AIDS was approved by the Government of Sierra Leone. The Strategic Plan and the associated guidelines included Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and the provision of Antiretroviral Treatment (ART).
During the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, there has been a strong suspicion that people avoided the premises for drug administration such as hospitals, clinics and Community Health Centres. Health care service providers were terrified and reluctant to deliver services at the initial stage of the epidemic because of fear of becoming infected with Ebola, a time when the resources needed to prevent transmission were not available in the country.
This study was carried out to establish ART medication adherence during the Ebola outbreak. A cross-sectional study in both the community and institutions was carried out at four locations within Government Hospitals, support groups, and youth service centers. The four sites represented the Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern regions of the country.
Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were carried out among People Living with HIV & AIDS (PLHA).
The study found that 90% of PLHAs missed at least one month’s supply of ARV drugs thus indicating an adherence rate of 10%. The study also established that about 50% of PLHAs on ART failed to collect their drugs due to fear of the mounted checkpoints where temperatures of people were taken or fear of the diseases itself.

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