an HIV TELEHEALTH TRAINING PROGRAM supplemental session
In March 2020, we were one of the first organizations in the Philippines to conduct a series of webinars on HIV and COVID related topics, as a supplemental learning for the HTTP graduates. The webinars were developed as a way to ensure the continuity of care for People Living With HIV (PLHIVs) and at-risk groups during the COVID-19 pandemic & ensuing lockdowns.
This webinar series greatly benefitted our HTTP graduates, as well as other primary care workers, by providing timely knowledge and awareness in order to adapt and respond to the challenges brought upon by the pandemic.
This year, as the Philippine government is about to roll out a national vaccination program against COVID-19, we are at a critical point where knowledge must be shared to HIV healthcare providers, and vaccine confidence boosted among PLHIVs, while focusing on the latest science and updates on HIV and COVID-19 vaccines.
Here are the Q&A topics that followed:
The most common question sent in by attendees was whether special provisions were to be made for PLHIV for easier access to the vaccine. Worries about confidentiality, disclosure, and unnecessary exposure to the public of immunocompromised individuals were the reasons given for desire for a more localized area of distribution.
We will follow up with the Department of Health for a statement regarding this concern.
The HIV Telehealth Training Program (http), along with our partner experts, join us in creating the COVID-19 Supplemental Sessions for healthcare providers and our fellow Filipinos — hour long learning videos with live Q&As with our participants.
Dr. Kate Leyritana discusses the basics of SARS-Cov-2 and COVID-19 disease. What testing and treatment modalities available locally, and how to approach someone who comes for a consult and presents with signs and symptoms.
This video was broadcasted on March 31, and some newer data may have come forth since then.
2. Life in the Time of COVID
How do we keep our homes and workplaces free from COVID-19? Dr. Angelo Ramos gives us some tips on how to stay safe while staying at home.
3. HIV Care Continuum During Philippine ECQ
Metro Manila, NCR, and eventually the whole of Luzon was placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine on March 12, 2020. Foremost on the minds of PLHIVs were how to get their ARTs when public transportation was unavailable. Benjamin Banguingan of DOH NCR explains how access to medications must remain universal despite the lockdown.
4. HIV and COVID-19
It has been reported widely that immunocompromised people are at high risk for mortality and complications once with COVID-19. Is this true? What’s the story on COVID and HIV? Dr. Louie Ocampo of UNAIDS enlightens us.
5. Communication and Resilience
Social Isolation with is not an easy thing to go through. How can we survive this? Do we come out of this as different versions of ourselves? Is there a New Normal we need to conform to?
Dr. Gia Sision and Dr. RJ Naguit discuss Mental Wellness while on lockdown, while Professor Beng Ramos-Mortel discusses Risk Communication strategies for our healthcare workers.
The HIV Telehealth Training Program is patterned after the model adopted in Vietnam, which was largely motivated by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Department of Internal Medicine’s Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) or Project ECHO. The latter was developed as an innovative approach to improve access to high quality clinical care among rural and underserved population in New Mexico through capacity building of primary care physicians and other healthcare workers. Project ECHO used videoconferencing technology to bring together multiple community-based primary care physicians with specialists from academic centers for the purpose of co-managing the patients handled by the former.
Telehealth allowed for providers from multiple locations to connect simultaneously with a central team of experts, allowing for experience sharing and peer-to-peer learning between clinical sites. Learning is exponential, as participants can also serve as hubs of information of the institutions within their jurisdiction.
Three years after its implementation in Vietnam, the success of telehealth is seen in the establishment of over 17 central hubs in their respective territories, leading to a network of 695 clinical sites, participants from 62 provinces. Certification of healthcare providers in HIV medicine were established through online courses, which was organized by five hubs, enabling 779 providers from 46 provinces to professionalize their services – physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and others.
Evaluation of the program showed improvement of self-assessed confidence in HIV care (mean baseline score 2.9; mean post score 3.9; p<.001), quality of care provided, and reduction of professional isolation.
SHIP Medical Director Dr. Kate Leyritana visited HAIVN to witness this marvel of distance education personally, and with the help of country director Dr. Todd Pollack and the Ho Chi Minh branch support staff, she was able to learn about Telehealth enough to propose it for the Philippines.