Shifting tasks from pharmacy to nonpharmacy personnel for providing antiretroviral therapy to people living with HIV : a systematic review and metaanalysis

Mbeye, Nyanyiwe Masingi ; Adetokunboh, Olatunji ; Negussie, Eyerusalem ; Kredo, Tamara ; Wiysonge, Charles Shey (2017-8)

CITATION: Mbeye, N. M. et al. 2017. Shifting tasks from pharmacy to non-pharmacy personnel for providing antiretroviral therapy to people living with HIV: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 7(8):e015072. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015072.

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Objectives Lay people or non-pharmacy health workers with training could dispense antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-constrained countries, freeing up time for pharmacists to focus on more technical tasks. We assessed the effectiveness of such task-shifting in lowincome and middle-income countries. Method We conducted comprehensive searches of peerreviewed and grey literature. Two authors independently screened search outputs, selected controlled trials, extracted data and resolved discrepancies by consensus. We performed random-effects meta-analysis and assessed certainty of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Results Three studies with 1993 participants met the inclusion criteria, including two cluster trials conducted in Kenya and Uganda and an individually randomised trial conducted in Brazil. We found very low certainty evidence regarding mortality due to the low number of events. Therefore, we are uncertain whether there is a true increase in mortality as the effect size suggests, or a reduction in mortality between pharmacy and non-pharmacy models of dispensing ART (risk ratio (RR) 1.86, 95% CI 0.44 to 7.95, n=1993, three trials, very low certainty evidence). There may be no differences between pharmacy and non-pharmacy models of dispensing ART on virological failure (risk ratio (RR) 0.92, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.15, n=1993, three trials, low certainty evidence) and loss to follow-up (RR 1.13, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.91, n=1993. three trials, low certainty evidence). We found some evidence that costs may be reduced for the patient and health system when task-shifting is undertaken. Conclusions The low certainty regarding the evidence implies a high likelihood that further research may find the effects of the intervention to be substantially different from our findings. If resource-constrained countries decide to shift ART dispensing and distribution from pharmacy to non-pharmacy personnel, this should be accompanied by robust monitoring and impact evaluation.

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