The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, and Sierra Leone have joined ICAP’s HIV Coverage, Quality, and Impact Network (CQUIN), adding to the growing group of countries sharing best practices, lessons learned, and implementation resources to foster the scale-up of high quality differentiated service delivery (DSD).
The addition of these three new countries builds upon the groundwork laid in April 2017, when ICAP convened 60 experts from nine countries—including ministries of health, donor agencies, non-governmental institutions, people living with HIV, and civil society— to address a crucial question: “How can the delivery of HIV services be enhanced and accelerated to reach more people with quality care?”
The resulting learning network, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has grown in breadth and depth since its 2017 launch. Now 14 member countries strong, CQUIN provides network participants with a unique opportunity for south-to-south exchange. Workshops, meetings, webinars, south-to-south visits, virtual communities of practice, support for catalytic research projects, and direct technical assistance from ICAP have created a vibrant and high-impact network.
The network is focused on DSD—a person-centered approach to HIV testing, prevention, care, and treatment that departs from a one-size-fits-all model to tailor HIV services to different groups of people living with HIV, optimizing quality, acceptability, efficiency and impact. In a recent survey, 91% of ministry of health respondents said that participation in CQUIN had been very important in the implementation and scale-up of DSD services in their countries.
CQUIN’s members have consistently proven to be the joint-learning network’s most remarkable asset, and the new member countries promise to add momentum to this dynamic collective.
“Liberia is passionate to end HIV and AIDS as a public health concern,” said Julia Toomey Garbo, program manager of Liberia’s National AIDS and STI Control Program. “The opportunity to be admitted into the CQUIN Learning Network will bring significant synergy and leveraging to our efforts. We look forward to be the star of the CQUIN countries, the last becoming the first!”
“I am very happy to see DRC joining other countries in this learning network!” noted Luc-Ferdinand Kamanga Lukusa, MD, national director of DRC’s National AIDS Control Program.”
Alren Vandy, MD, MPH, national antiretroviral therapy coordinator for Sierra Leone’s National HIV/AIDS Control Programme (NACP) agreed, noting, “we are happy to be part of the CQUIN network because it is a learning platform for the country, creating an opportunity for Sierra Leone to learn from other countries and stakeholders to improve the implementation of differentiated care models.”
All three countries will join their CQUIN colleagues at the annual meeting in November in Johannesburg, where the network looks forward to welcoming them in person!