AID FOR AIDS
Aid for AIDS (“AfA”) was the first HIV management programme introduced in South Africa and remains the leading HIV disease management programme in the private sector (both medical schemes and corporates). It also plays a role in collaborating with government-led task teams and forums to challenge the epidemic, thereby extending services to the public sector.
Afa’s strategy is founded on three pillars: client retention and satisfaction, growth and efficiency. This strategy is being implemented through the following ongoing activities:
|•||Continuous improvement of the service offering with a specific focus on the UNAIDS’ ambitious treatment targets (90-90-90) which aim to assist with the AIDS epidemic.|
|•||Growth by targeting new clients, expanding services to existing clients and by expanding into new markets in the NGO space and the public sector. AfA is exploring the potential of public-private partnerships to penetrate these new markets.|
|•||Streamlining the existing service delivery model in order to decrease the cost of running the programme without impacting negatively on quality of the service rendered. This includes greater automation of processes.|
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
AfA can offer more holistic patient management, treating co-morbidities more effectively and managing the long-term effects of antiretroviral treatment through greater integration with Medscheme’s existing programmes and technology developments such as the electronic health record and wellness activities.
With the expansion of the Group, AfA is able to integrate services with other Group companies. Changes are being implemented as a result of collaboration with other partners within the Group. For example, collaboration with Pharmacy Direct will ensure improved adherence to medication, resulting in better clinical outcomes such as viral load suppression. AfA intends to continue to leverage the healthcare value chain represented by the Group to deliver quality of life improvements for all patients in its care.
AfA offers a quality product, measured via clinical outcomes such as viral load suppression, CD4 count, number of opportunistic infections and other recognised evidence-based indications that HIV is being effectively managed. Many competing products are not able to substantiate their outcomes in this way. Clients and potential clients may, however, lack the expertise and ability to distinguish between the various products available and may make purchasing decisions based on the service price alone rather than the outcomes achieved. This represents a risk to AfA.
HIV is now perceived to be a manageable chronic condition rather than a life-threatening disease (which, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, it is) and public awareness is shifting from HIV to chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Global disease management systems are also moving away from the management of a single disease to comprehensive management of the individual with chronic disease(s) – whether communicable or non-communicable. Greater integration with Medscheme’s Active Disease Risk Management programme will assist AfA to minimise this risk.
PERFORMANCE AND OUTLOOK
AfA continues to provide a valuable service by improving the clinical outcomes of people living with HIV. This in turn reduces the financial risk to employers and medical schemes. As AfA moves ever closer to achieving the UNAIDS treatment targets, this value proposition will be further enhanced. As a result, the outlook for AfA remains favourable. Expansion into new markets and significant client growth is, however, challenging in the current environment.