An effective national HIV/AIDS response depends upon the availability of high-quality services across the HIV service delivery cascade. While the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (GoDRC) has made tremendous strides toward controlling the HIV epidemic in Haut-Katanga Province, strategically expanding access to comprehensive HIV prevention, testing, and care and treatment (C&T) services to the populations that most need them is critical to ensure that the GoDRC achieves UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.
In response to CDC-RFA-GH20-2024, ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) proposes a comprehensive approach in the 11 targeted health zones (HZ) of Haut-Katanga to achieve the GoDRC’s priorities of expanding HIV prevention and testing services among key and priority populations (KP and PP) to reach the first 95; improving linkages to care and rapidly scaling up provision of antiretroviral treatment to attain the second 95; improving viral load testing and expanding comprehensive health care and supportive services to achieve the third 95; and, across the 95-95-95 targets, improving data quality and use for policy and program development, implementing activities tailored to reach orphans and vulnerable children, and integrating sexual and gender-based violence activities.
ICAP has successfully partnered with the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Haut-Katanga and Kinshasa provinces in numerous projects over the last decade, including expanding index testing and partner notification services (PNS) and supporting C&T scale-up in 199 sites. In the 11 targeted HZ of Haut-Katanga, ICAP has provided TA to strengthen technical and administrative capacity while working hand-in-hand with local partners to deliver targeted services to KP and PP and implement differentiated service delivery models (DSDM) across 114 health facilities. Most recently under the CDC/PEPFAR-funded “Increase Access to Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment Services in the DRC under PEPFAR” project, ICAP supported Haut-Katanga’s HZ teams to successfully pilot distribution of 164 self-test kits at five KP friendly sites, introduce self-testing in PNS in 19 health facilities serving the general population, and developed a QR code reader system to facilitate viral load data management. ICAP will draw on its global experience and technical leadership in expanding strategic information capacity, and build upon the strong foundation it has already established as a GoDRC partner to strengthen the HIV cascade in Haut-Katanga.
Over the project’s five-year timeframe, working across the 11 targeted HZ, ICAP, along with its respected local partners—World Production and Union Congolaise des Organisations des PvViH (UCOP+)—will improve access to high quality HIV-related services for KP and PP and their sexual and social contacts, as well as the general population, through patient-centered, client-customized services across the HIV clinical cascade. The Project will expand innovative DSDM tailored to Haut-Katanga’s context and affected populations—particularly mobile and hard-to-reach groups unique to the province such as miners and fishers—addressing medical, psychosocial, and legal support needs. The Project will provide TA to GoDRC partners at all levels to jointly enhance data collection, analysis, and use and support quality improvement initiatives to continually assess and improve its approach.
The ICAP-led consortium will utilize its 33 years of combined experience working in Haut-Katanga to inform its approach, working together with key stakeholders at the national, provincial, and HZ levels to design and implement project activities to enable sustainability from the start and throughout the course of the ICAP-led team’s five-year engagement.