There is a paucity of research demonstrating how best to address inequalities in health and access to specialist care faced by rural disadvantaged populations in high HIV-prevalent settings in Sub Saharan Africa. Delivering equitable and cost-effective specialist clinical services in many parts of Africa is challenging, given human resource shortages, poor transport infrastructure and competing health priorities. In this report we describe how an airborne outreach program to provide HIV services to high HIV burden health facilities in rural Botswana has been an important catalyst for improving specialist service delivery across the spectrum of clinical care. The success of Botswana’s airborne program is a consequence of many country-specific determinants as well as external funding support. We argue that lessons learned from the experience in Botswana are normative for other African settings. Specialist medical airborne outreach to rural hospitals can improve access to and quality of care, when part of a multifaceted, multidisciplinary intervention. Furthermore, we demonstrate how an HIV funded program can be a vehicle for enhanced access to essential sub-specialist clinicians in rural Botswana.
HIV, outreach, airborne, health system strengthening.