Integrated Campaigns More Effective in Combating HIV, Malaria and Waterborne Diseases
WASHINGTON-- Latest evidence presented last week at the International AIDS Society conference in Washington DC demonstrates that integrated prevention campaigns are cost-effective, lifesaving, and reduce disease impact on a population’s productivity.
The evidence notes that these campaigns, which bundle health interventions targeting multiple diseases, hold significant promise for making headway against disease in a resource-constrained international aid environment.
According to media release, studies shared at the conference evaluated an integrated prevention campaign conducted by the Kenya government, Vestergaard Frandsen, and partners that reached 47,000 people in seven days in Kenya’s Western Province. The campaign provided HIV testing and counselling, water filters, insecticide-treated bed nets, condoms and, for HIV-positive individuals, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis and referrals for ongoing care.
The first study, led by researchers from the University of Washington, confirmed that people living with HIV who used the bed nets to fight malaria and household water filters to prevent waterborne diseases showed reductions in diarrhea and malaria, as well as delayed progression of HIV.
The combined interventions resulted in a 27 percent reduction in the likelihood of reaching a CD4 count of less than 350 during the period of study, with a CD4 count of 350 being the standard threshold for initiating antiretroviral treatment.
The findings suggest that the provision of a bed net and a household water filter to individuals living with HIV can help them stay healthier, longer and delay the need to start antiretroviral treatment as well the associated cost.
A second University of Washington study took this 27 percent figure and extrapolated it to all of sub-Saharan Africa. Using a computer model, the researchers found that providing bed nets and water filters to adults living with HIV - those aware of their HIV status but not yet eligible for antiretroviral therapy - would result in 2,040,000 years-of-life off antiretroviral therapy, and treatment-related cost savings of US $ 402 million, or about 8 percent of the annual PEPFAR HIV care and treatment budget of US $ 4.9 billion.
The researchers further found that expanding coverage to HIV-infected adults not yet knowing their HIV serostatus would dramatically increase these benefits.
A third study, led by the University of California, modeled the potential cost effectiveness of a scaled up integrated prevention campaign and found that, per 1,000 participants, the projected reduction in cases of diarrhea, malaria and HIV infection avert an estimated 16.3 deaths and save 359 disability-adjusted life years. Accounting for estimated campaign costs, the pilot campaign used in the model saves an estimated $16,015 in healthcare costs for every 1,000 participants.
“It’s scientific results like these that together make the case for novel solutions to some of the most pressing problems in aid and public health,” said Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen which manufactures the LifeStraw water filters and PermaNet bed nets used in Kenya’s integrated prevention campaign.
The Vestergaard boss was among a group of more than 20 CEOs from the world’s leading companies who signed a pledge last week calling on countries to lift travel restrictions for people living with HIV.
Vestergaard Frandsen is a European company specializing in disease control products and novel ways to distribute them. The company operates under a unique humanitarian entrepreneurship business model, and strong support of the UN Millennium Development Goals is one of its defining characteristics.