Factors associated with adherence to anti-retroviral therapy in Katima Mulilo hospital, Namibia
Namibia is one of the countries in the world most affected by HIV/AIDS with the national prevalence of 18.8% in 2010. In 2010, it was reported that an estimated 180,000 Namibians were living with HIV/AIDS; of which 95,000 adult women, 69,000 adult men and 16,000 children. An estimated 6,700 deaths was recorded in 2009 with an estimated number of 70,000 orphans due to the disease. The introduction of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in public health facilities in Namibia in 2003 has improved the quality of lives of patients with advanced HIV disease, prolonged their lives and enabled them to be economically productive. By 2010 about 90,000 patients were enrolled on ART program in all 34 district hospitals and 3 intermediate referrer hospitals. Adherence to antiretroviral therapy is a key attribute of clinical HIV care and the overall determining factor in gauging the effectiveness of treatment. Good adherence to ART is vital to sustain low viral loads and prevent the development of drug resistant HIV strains. Although the patient retention rate on ART at the Katima Mulilo Hospital was 98.3%, with increased patient uptake to the program in future, there is a need to be aware of factors that influence adherence to ART as such findings could inform the expanded ART program in Caprivi region. An explorative, qualitative study was conducted where in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 ART patients and key informants interviews with 2 health workers. Data were audiotape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic and content analysis of transcribed data was performed.