Strengthening HIV/AIDS Programs in Two Indian States

Samastha’s Technical Assistance

A newly qualified physician, Dr. Ramakrishnan (not his real name), the new medical officer of a community care center (CCC) in Gulbarga city in the state of Karnataka, India, attended the Samastha Project’s basic training course on HIV prevention and care in June 2008. During the six-day training, he was found to be rather withdrawn. Several months later, when on-site mentoring for the trainees began at the CCC, the mentor, a senior physician from St. John’s Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, felt that Dr. Ramakrishnan’s development as a clinician was impeded by his lack of confidence. He would not attempt to carry out even simple clinical procedures, and his diagnostic and management skills were rudimentary at best. The mentor suggested sending Dr. Ramakrishnan to Snehadaan Learning Site, a comprehensive care and support center for people living with HIV.

Over the course of two weeks at the Learning Site, Dr. Ramakrishnan worked with a more experienced doctor and learned how to provide comprehensive care to sick patients. His confidence blossomed, and he became more proficient in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. He returned to his CCC with new enthusiasm and confidence, and a greater willingness to learn and apply new knowledge to solve clinical problems. He began discussing clinical problems with his mentor on the phone, rather than requiring on-site visits. The CCC coordinator reported that the care provided to clients had improved greatly (Chatterjee and Washington 2011).