In 2017, Lighthouse Center developed criteria for Centers of Excellence for HIV care, loosely defining what type of services and infrastructure are required and desired of an HIV referral center. While initially meant to be internal guidelines to measure the clinic’s own services objectively, the standards have become a reference and blueprint for other clinics which were added to the LH family.
Over the years, the ART cohorts of Lighthouse facilities have grown steadily and other clinics - Martin-Preuss Center at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Umodzi Family Center at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, and Tisungane Clinic at Zomba Central Hospital - are striving and successfully moving towards the same standards as the initial Lighthouse center at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
The CoEs strive to offer innovative, cutting-edge HIV testing, treatment and care services. To this end, they implement high-quality differentiated service delivery models to satisfy needs of different patient populations. At the same time, they offer integrated HIV treatment and care services ensuring a patient- and family-centered approach: taking care of the various simultaneous needs of the persons. LH CoEs do not only serve as referral sites for other ART clinics in the districts, but also as support structures for the HIV care for in-patients in tertiary hospitals. Well-trained and experienced nurses and clinical officers provide all the specialist services.
Additionally, CoEs are utilized for training and mentoring, thus many of the CoE health care workers (HCWs) are certified trainers for various National HIV programs. Frontline HCW are supported by a number of M&E staff allowing data collection, interpretation as well as implementation research in new initiatives and tools for the National ART program.