Anti-Alcohol Program Could Make Fighting HIV Cheaper
Economist Omar Galárraga, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Public Health and Rebecca Papas, research assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University recently published an article in BMC Health Services Research. According to their study, the key is that therapy can be successfully delivered by “paraprofessionals” with limited training, of which there are far more than the insufficient number of psychiatrists, estimated to be only 75 in 2010 in Kenya. Those with a high school education have demonstrated to be successful trainees in the pilot program.
“In our pilot intervention study, we demonstrated that trained paraprofessional therapists in Kenya were independently rated to be as competent as college-educated US therapists when delivering a standardised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention to reduce alcohol use,” Papas says. “This new cost-effectiveness study goes a step further by considering the long-term health and economic benefits to rolling out this task-shifting approach to more people.”
The colleagues are planning a new study where the costs of training and then continuously employing enough paraprofessionals to deliver the CBT at 12 sites in five regions around the country to be calculated. “Each new case of HIV averted implies tremendous costs saved because it is an expensive, lifelong treatment,” Galárraga says.