THE University Teaching Hospital HIV AIDS Programme (UTH-HAP) has launched a paediatric HIV/AIDS toll-free line on Airtel and Zamtel networks that will be used by clinicians all over the country to consult for expertise and enhance the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The University Teaching Hospital attends to over 4000 children and 9000 adults on Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART) respectively, most of who have complications requiring third level specialist treatment.
According to UTH public relations manager Mwenya Mulenga, the 7040 hotline initiative would help in improving the quality of health care provided by UTH including the tertiary services.
Mr. Mulenga said Zambia had managed to put a lot of adults on treatment but was still lagging behind in the treatment of children, hence the initiative.
“Calls made via the hotline will be profiled, subsequently helping in the process of planning and supporting team leaders in existing mentorship programmes.
“The advantage of the hotline service is that the clinicians will be able to access help easily, a task that is difficult to achieve when members of the public have access to a hotline and are also requesting for assistance,” he said.
Mr. Mulenga further stated that the centre would be able to train provincial teams that will in turn train and mentor their district teams, as the services would subsequently include a video call function.
He said UTH-HAP was determined to have all children who were HIV+ get proper treatment.
“Our experts are ready to receive calls anytime; we have observed that health workers are shy and not confident enough to handle HIV-positive patients, even when they have been trained.
‘‘So the toll free-line will help them have guidance on how to handle such cases, thereby improving the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Mr Mulenga said.