- HIV transmission from mothers to infants can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
- Every year 6,100 Kenyan children and 160,000 children worldwide are newly infected with HIV.
- An estimated 120,000 children in the world die of HIV/AIDS annually.
- Barriers impeding EID services in Kenya and other resource-limited settings include late presentation for care, long turnaround times for test results to be returned and communicated, poor retention of infants in care throughout the 18-month schedule of services, and delayed ART initiation for HIV-positive infants.
Brad Gautney, President of Global Health Innovations (GHI), and Sarah Finocchario-Kessler, Associate Professor in Family Medicine, have collaborated with researchers at Children's Mercy Hospitals and the Kenya Medical Research Institute to develop and pilot the HITSystem in Kenya. The HITSystem version 1.0 was designed to provide algorithm-based service alerts for EID providers and laboratory staff, and text message alerts to mothers' phones to prompt appointment attendance.
- Increased proportion of infants receiving complete EID services.
- Reduced turnaround time from sample collection to return of PCR test result to clinic.
- Reduced turnaround time from return of test result to mother notification.
- Reduced age of HIV+ infants at ART initiation.
HITSystem 2.0 monitors and supports women's consistent PMTCT engagement through service alerts to providers and text messaging to the patients. It has been implemented in a research pilot at one Kenyan hospital since 2017, where preliminary results point to significant improvements in care. It has also been implemented programmatically to support EID and PMTCT at 300 facilities in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Nigeria.