Funding Agency: PATH Uganda
Partners: MTN Pulse
Project Duration: 8 Months (1st December 2022 to 31st July2023)
Uganda still grapples with low-case identification of new HIV positives with current performance against the set UNAIDS target standing at 84%. A number of factors including unfriendly HIV testing models have been identified as some factors responsible for these trends. It was from this background that PATH along with partners including JHPIEGO, PSI collaborating with the Ministry of Health set out to expand HIV self-testing kit distribution channels to include private sector players like Rocket Health. We share the experience of Rocket Health a private telemedicine company that leveraged its 24/7 call center and last-mile logistical delivery service to improve access to HIV self-test kits in Kampala-Uganda.
Rocket Health is a leading telemedicine provider in Uganda dedicated to expanding access to quality healthcare services. With a commitment to innovation, convenience, and patient care, Rocket Health connects individuals with licensed healthcare professionals, offering a wide range of healthcare solutions. Through teleconsultations and last-mile delivery of healthcare services from the convenience of your home, work, school, or recreational venue, Rocket Health offers access to high-quality and reasonably priced HIV self-testing kits. With the introduction of Mylan HIV self-testing kits, Rocket Health strengthened its dedication to providing affordable HIV-Self Testing services through Rocket Health’s platform the E-shop. The kits were delivered to our customers’ doorsteps via last-mile delivery services, making sure that everyone benefited from this innovative solution.
Objectives of the Project
- To promote and scale up the use of HIV self-testing kits within the urban population.
- To drive awareness and promotional campaigns of the Mylan HIV self-testing kits.
Activities implemented under the project:
1. Social Media Awareness Campaigns
We leveraged social media platforms as our marketing strategy to engage target audiences. This involved designing graphics materials for Mylan HIV kits and posting them to promote and increase the uptake. In addition, social media platforms were utilized to create awareness campaigns, and educational content was disseminated via Rocket Health’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts, and SMS digital health platform “8080’’ including a YouTube video demonstrating how to use the Mylan HIV self-testing kit reaching out to a total of 12,144 users.
2. On-site Community Out-reaches
We organized community outreach initiatives to promote and expand the adoption of Mylan HIV self-testing kits targeting the young population and Rocket Health clients including University students. These promotional initiatives took place at university events such as the Pharmaceutical Symposium at Makerere University, Tubayo Market functions in collaboration with MTN Pulse, and presentations to new clients in the field of digital health at various businesses and organizations, such as PATH Uganda.
Key Achievements from the pilot
The 24/7 call center offered remote support to purchasers of the kits on results interpretation and linkages to confirmatory tests for those who reported positive self-test results.
- The Mylan HIV self-testing kits were readily available at subsidized prices for order through Rocket Health’s platform the E-shop, a self-service e-commerce platform (www.rockethealth.shop), and a USSD code *280#.
- This distribution channel/model significantly increased the accessibility of HIV self-testing kits to a wider audience, reaching individuals both females and males in Kampala and those in remote areas who previously had limited access to healthcare facilities.
- The project improved the efficiency of HIV self-testing processes. Individuals can now easily obtain testing kits, conduct the tests at their convenience, and receive results promptly, eliminating the need for in-person appointments and lengthy waiting times.
- Educational initiatives, including video demonstrations and informational materials, helped individuals understand how to use the self-testing kits correctly and interpret the results, contributing to more informed decisions about their health.
- By providing self-testing kits discreetly, the distribution channel helped reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing, encouraging more people to take charge of their health.