A standards-based approach to quality improvement for HIV services at Zambia Defence Force facilities: Results and lessons learned

Adrienne Kols, Young Mi Kim, Eva Bazant, Edgar Necochea, Joseph Banda, Stacie Stender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The Zambia Defence Force adopted the Standards-Based Management and Recognition approach to improve the quality of the HIV-related services at its health facilities. This quality improvement intervention relies on comprehensive, detailed assessment tools to communicate and verify adherence to national standards of care, and to test and implement changes to improve performance. Methods: A quasi-experimental evaluation of the intervention was conducted at eight Zambia Defence Force primary health facilities (four facilities implemented the intervention and four did not). Data from three previous analyses are combined to assess the effect of Standards-Based Management and Recognition on three domains: facility readiness to provide services; observed provider performance during antiretroviral therapy (ART) and antenatal care consultations; and provider perceptions of the work environment. Results: Facility readiness scores for ART improved on four of the eight standards at intervention sites, and one standard at comparison sites. Facility readiness scores for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV increased by 15 percentage points at intervention sites and 7 percentage points at comparison sites. Provider performance improved significantly at intervention sites for both ART services (from 58 to 84%; P<0.01) and PMTCT services (from 58 to 73%; P=0.003); there was no significant change at comparison sites. Providers' perceptions of the work environment generally improved at intervention sites and declined at comparison sites; differences in trends between study groups were significant for eight items. Conclusions: A standards-based approach to quality improvement proved effective in supporting healthcare managers and providers to deliver ART and PMTCT services in accordance with evidence-based standards in a health system suffering from staff shortages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S145-S153
StatePublished - Jul 2015


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • Healthcare
  • Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
  • Quality improvement
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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