For over 20 years, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has collaborated with the Malawi Ministry of Health, supporting a range of clinical care and research in the areas of maternal health, STIs, malaria, cancer, and HIV/AIDs.
However, accuracy and reliability of monitoring patients remains a challenge. Current EMR systems struggle to identify patients because of inconsistent names and misspelling, as well as an inability to link patients across different types of health services (e.g. ANC, HIV, malaria). Nearly 25% of women in Option B+ (a lifelong antiretroviral treatment program) are lost to follow up within 12 months of initiating ART, making long-term engagement in HIV care a barrier to successful outcomes (Bengtson et al., 2019).
This project explored the potential for biometric technology to assist with monitoring engagement in HIV care across HIV clinics in the Lilongwe district, among women enrolled in Option B+. Researchers evaluated how a technology-enhanced monitoring system compares to the current HIV monitoring system in recording HIV visits, identifying transfers between clinics, and identifying women who are lost to follow-up.
Two peer-reviewed studies recently published by Brown University School of Public Health found that Simprints improved HIV care delivery and was wholly positive on the acceptability, usability, and feasibility of the technology.
This study ended in 2019, with the conclusion that biometric fingerprint scanning should be scaled-up and evaluated as an implementation strategy to support sustained engagement in HIV care for women during the perinatal period.