Mixed Methods, Implementation Science Evaluation of a Community Health Worker Strategy for HIV Service Engagement in Uganda

Larry W. Chang, Rose Pollard, Ismail Mbabali, Aggrey Anok, Heidi Hutton, K. Rivet Amico, Xiangrong Kong, Jeremiah Mulamba, Joseph Ssekasanvu, Amanda Long, Alvin G. Thomas, Kristin Thomas, Eva Bugos, Kimiko Van Wickle, Caitlin E. Kennedy, Fred Nalugoda, Laura K. Beres, Robert C. Bollinger, Thomas C. Quinn, David SerwaddaRonald H. Gray, Maria J. Wawer, Steven J. Reynolds, Gertrude Nakigozi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:A trial found that a community health worker (CHW) strategy using "Health Scouts"improved HIV care uptake and ART coverage. To better understand outcomes and areas for improvement, we conducted an implementation science evaluation.Methods:Using the RE-AIM framework, quantitative methods included analyses of a community-wide survey (n = 1903), CHW log books, and phone application data. Qualitative methods included in-depth interviews (n = 72) with CHWs, clients, staff, and community leaders.Results:Thirteen Health Scouts logged 11,221 counseling sessions; 2532 unique clients were counseled. 95.7% (1789 of 1891) of residents reported awareness of the Health Scouts. Overall, reach (self-reported receipt of counseling) was 30.7% (580 of 1891). Unreached residents were more likely to be male and HIV seronegative (P < 0.05). Qualitative themes included the following: (1) reach was promoted by perceived usefulness but deterred by busy client lifestyles and stigma, (2) effectiveness was enabled through good acceptability and consistency with the conceptual framework, (3) adoption was facilitated by positive impacts on HIV service engagement, and (4) implementation fidelity was initially promoted by the CHW phone application but deterred by mobility. Maintenance showed consistent counseling sessions over time. The findings suggested the strategy was fundamentally sound but had suboptimal reach. Future iterations could consider adaptations to improve reach to priority populations, testing the need for mobile health support, and additional community sensitization to reduce stigma.Conclusions:A CHW strategy to promote HIV services was implemented with moderate success in an HIV hyperendemic setting and should be considered for adoption and scale-up in other communities as part of comprehensive HIV epidemic control efforts.Trial registration:ClinicalTrials.gov Trial Number NCT02556957.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • Africa
  • HIV
  • community health worker
  • implementation
  • mobile health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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