Integration of HIV in Child Survival Platforms: A Novel Programmatic Pathway towards the 90–90–90 Targets
Integration of HIV into child survival platforms is an evolving territory with multiple connotations. Most literature on integration of HIV into other health services focuses on adults; however promising practices for children are emerging. These include the Double Dividend (DD) framework, a new programming approach with dual goal of improving paediatric HIV care and child survival. In this commentary, the authors discuss why integrating HIV testing, treatment and care into child survival platforms is important, as well as its potential to advance progress towards global targets that call for, by 2020, 90% of children living withHIV to know their status, 90% of those diagnosed to be on treatment and 90% of those on treatment to be virally suppressed (90-90-90).
Integration is critical in improving health outcomes and efficiency gains. In children, integration ofHIV in programmes such as immunization and nutrition has been associated with an increased uptake of HIVinfant testing. Integration is increasingly recognized as a case-finding strategy for children missed from prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes and as a platform for diffusing emerging technologies such as point-of-care diagnostics. These support progress towards the 90-90-90 targets by providing a pathwayfor early identification of HIV-infected children with co-morbidities, prompt initiation of treatment and improved survival. There are various promising practices that have demonstrated HIV outcomes; however, few have documented the benefits of integration on child survival interventions. The DD framework is well positioned to address the bidirectional impacts for both programmes.
Integration provides an important programmatic pathway for accelerated progress towards the 90-90-90 targets. Despite this encouraging information, there are still challenges to be addressed in order to maximize the benefits of integration.