Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV. HIV treatment is scaling up in the region, but there is still a need for medicine to be made available to everyone who needs it.
However, the concern is not merely that treatment is rolled out to those who need it, but that the treatment being delivered to patients is of good quality, based on best practice and current standard treatment guidelines. There is still a great need for accurate and appropriate information among health personnel, particularly the people on the front-line in delivering treatment and care.
These are the individuals who encounter people living with HIV or AIDS daily, and need information in clear and simple language that can help them carry out their duties, particularly since treatment regimens do change from time to time. While information does exist, it is often very technical and hard to understand and interpret. In addition, it can be difficult to access by workers in grassroots communities. The NANASI Newsletter is working to address this need.
The Nanasi newsletter was founded in 2002 by Drs Richard and Judith Brown, specialists in the field of HIV and AIDS. They began producing it in response to questions and requests from colleagues in government, community and church health facilities. On their retirement, they handed over publication to an editorial team which includes members from Health Action International (HAI) Africa, AfriAfya, Liverpool VCT and Columbia University's International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs.
Nanasi is a 4-6 page monthly newsletter. It contains case studies of patients in diverse situations and demographics, presenting with various symptoms. Readers are asked to discuss how they would assess and treat such patients. At the back of each issue, the solution and recommendations are given. This acts as a treatment resource, especially for the understaffed and undertrained health care providers in the rural communities.
Each issue also carries questions from medical staff in the field and answers to these questions. Examples of some of the topics addressed by these questions are:
- Post-exposure prophylaxis for medical staff who accidentally prick themselves with a possibly-contaminated needle
- How to counsel pregnant women who do not wish to take HIV tests
- Anti-retroviral treatment for children in resource-poor settings
- Debate on palliation vs. treatment and care
Articles are also carried on how to treat the many common HIV-related opportunistic infections. The treatments recommended are only those which are effective, safe, available and affordable in East Africa.
* * * IMPORTANT NOTE: * * *
All the published issues of NANASI are available on this web site. The information in them was current and up-to-date at the moment of publication. However, HIV and AIDS care and treatment change rapidly. Therefore, the older issues in the archive should be treat ed as a historical record, not a guide.
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