NCTC implements discreet visitation system during COVID-19

− HIV patients returning to clinic, NCTC Director

The National Care and Treatment Centre (NCTC) has implemented a strategic plan to ensure HIV patients get adequate treatment during the pandemic.

When Guyana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March, NCTC Director, Dr. Abiola Jacobs, said the facility had a slowdown in attendance, and management quickly reorganised to meet clients’ needs. 

“We had to change the way we managed clients, we had to really set up differently, so, what we try to do was home delivery, but if clients were uncomfortable and they didn’t really want us to visit, we had arranged somewhere on a corner, a system that might be discreet,” she told DPI Wednesday.

Visits also included workplaces once permission was given. In other instances, individuals could still pick up their prescriptions at the NCTC without the usual face-to-face interactions.

“Some clients, again, if they did not want us to do the home visit, they would come in and pick up their pills, but the lab time, triage, that take some time, that was cut out unless they had a particular concern or if they required physical examination.”

The more long-term clients who have been receiving treatment at the facility were given increased dosage to last a longer time. This was done to encourage social distancing as HIV is one of the comorbidities listed for COVID-19.  

Dr. Jacobs said provisions were also made for persons living with HIV/AIDS who contracted COVID-19.

“COVID-19 had affected some persons visit, some of our clients were infected with COVID-19, but even as they were at a specific facility, their doctors communicated with us so they had medications and everything.”

The Director said every change made at the NCTC in the last few months was done according to the COVID-19 guidelines.  The NCTC is the largest STI and HIV/ AIDS treatment and care facility in the country. It offers diagnosis and management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), management of HIV/AIDS, voluntary counselling and testing and management of some chronic diseases. Its mandate is to reduce the spread of STIs and HIV through accurate diagnosis.

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