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I-TECH and Zim-TTECH Publish Paper on Transitioned Programs

Faculty and staff from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) and its network partner the Zimbabwe Training, Technical Assistance and Education Center for Health (Zim-TTECH) have published a new paper in the journal PLOS One.

Working toward sustainability: Transitioning HIV programs from a USA-based organization to a local partner in Zimbabwe catalogs the challenges and lessons learned as I-TECH laid the groundwork to transition the voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) and HIV care and treatment programming in Zimbabwe to the newly established Zim-TTECH, a fully independent local organization.

“I-TECH prides itself on working collaboratively with our international partners. We held the principle from day one that the most successful programs happen when the locus of control sits in-country,” said Marrianne Holec, Senior Program Manager at I-TECH. “We had the foundation in place with our local staff, what was missing was the organizational structure to allow the team in-country to truly lead the project. With the formation of Zim-TTECH, I’m happy to say we are there.”

Among USG funders, it’s recognized that future models for sustainable healthcare rely on local country ownership and leadership.[1] But making the transition from US-based ownership to country ownership isn’t a one-time event, added Holec, “It’s a process that takes time. We wanted to document our process so that other international organizations who are looking to pursue decolonizing global health programming can learn from our experience.”

Through 16 key informant interviews, the team gathered views on transition planning, implementation, and technical support, ethics, and success. Five themes emerged from the data collected:

  • Develop a vision and empower leadership for change by delegating clear roles and supporting local ownership;
  • Plan and strategize for transition in a manner that accounts for historical context;
  • Communicate with and inform stakeholders to understand transition perceptions, understand barriers to transition, and enable open communications related to risks and benefits;
  • Engage and mobilize staff by constructing necessary infrastructure and providing technical assistance as needed; and
  • Define short-term and long-term success.

“Sustainability of successful donor funded public health programs is critical if we want to maintain the important gains that have been made over the years,” says Dr. Batsi Makunike, Executive Director of Zim-TTECH. “Strong local organizations with good governance, management, and technical capacities are an important cornerstone of sustainability.

“The process of transitioning from an international to a local organization is daunting,” she continues. “We hope that this study is helpful to other organizations in their efforts to transition.”

[1] Goosby E, Von Zinkernagel D, Holmes C, Haroz D, Walsh T. Raising the Bar: PEPFAR and New Paradigms for Global Health. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2012;60.

HIV ECHO Tele-Mentoring in the Caribbean

I-TECH facilitates an HIV ECHO® program, a distance-based tele-mentoring program for providers and clinics across the region. Weekly sessions provide access to brief HIV clinical updates along with an opportunity to present and receive consultation on challenging or unusual clinical care issues from a team of multi-cadre HIV experts as well as from other members of the community of practice. In response to an identified need, the program added a monthly mental health and HIV session.

In 2019, I-TECH began supporting the Medical Research Foundation to initiate a similar HIV/STI ECHO® program that will target HIV and STI care and treatment sites in Trinidad and Tobago as well as with in other countries in the region.

Strengthening Health Service Delivery in India

  • I-TECH India PL has successfully designed and implemented four differentiated ART service delivery models, including models for key population clients, in collaboration with other stakeholders in states of Maharashtra, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram to develop a proof of concept for the national level scale up;
  • Improved delivery of health services through onsite technical mentoring and supervison of health care staff in 9% of the ART centers of the country in the last three years;
  • Technically assisted successful implementation of newer initiatives such as treatment of TB through the ART centers, the “Treat All” initiative, and routine viral load monitoring at 48 ART centers; and
  • Conducted/participated in health service delivery assessments of facilities such as the national HIV/AIDS Centers of Excellence, ART Centers, Link ART Centers, and other care and support centers for the NACO.

Stefan Wiktor

Stefan Wiktor, MD, is a physician with more than 25 years of experience in epidemiologic research and public health programs related to the control of infectious diseases. He leads I-TECH’s work on hepatitis prevention and control, and is Acting Professor in the Department of Global Health. Prior to joining I-TECH, Dr. Wiktor was the Team Lead of the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Programme.

Dr. Wiktor previously worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where he conducted research studies of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, and led a large-scale HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment program in Tanzania. His research showed that anti-retroviral medications were effective in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Other research he did proved that antibiotics reduced bacterial infections in HIV-infected adults, a finding that led to the WHO recommendation for use of antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent deaths in HIV-infected adults.

Program Highlights

Expanding HIV Care and Treatment in Zimbabwe

The ZimPAAC consortium collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe to meet the following primary ...
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Using Innovative Technology for Better Data in Zimbabwe

The ZimPAAC consortium has supported high-quality health care worker (HCW) knowledge and skills in Zimbabwe with technologies such as applications ...
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Driving Collaboration with Local Implementation Partners in Zimbabwe

I-TECH builds local ownership and sustainability through collaborations throughout Zimbabwe. Under the CDC and PEPFAR awards, I-TECH has formed and ...
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Expanding Cervical Cancer Screening in Zimbabwe

I-TECH began the expansion of cervical cancer screening for women living with HIV aged 25-49 in Zimbabwe in 2019. I-TECH ...
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Improving HIV Care and Treatment across the Caribbean

I-TECH supports a variety of activities aimed at improving HIV care and treatment in the Caribbean region, such as on-site clinical mentoring, development of training curricula, and providing clinical support materials to improve care and treatment for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region.
Continue reading “Improving HIV Care and Treatment across the Caribbean”

Continuous Quality Improvement Collaborative in the Caribbean

Since 2013, I-TECH has led quality improvement (QI) collaboratives in the Caribbean region, enabling multidisciplinary teams at health facilities to work toward a common goal of improving care and treatment for HIV-positive patients.
Continue reading “Continuous Quality Improvement Collaborative in the Caribbean”

Gabrielle O’Malley

Gabrielle O’Malley, MA, PHD, is I-TECH’S Director of Implementation Science. Dr. O’Malley has worked as an applied research and evaluation professional for over 25 years. Her experience includes a wide variety of international and domestic programs including child survival, private agricultural enterprise, medical education, community technology, reproductive health, HIV prevention (PrEP), and care and treatment as well as applied research for private industry. Her research interests include innovative practices for program evaluation and improvement, formative research, qualitative methods, and the relationship of gender and health.

Dr. O’Malley received her PhD from UW, an MA from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Smith College.

Program Highlights

Birth Defects Surveillance in Malawi
Malawi is one of first countries in Southeast Africa to respond to the World Health Organization’s call for robust birth surveillance systems. Routine surveillance is essential for public health monitoring of pregnancy outcomes and birth defects, especially in high-HIV burden settings where women living with HIV initiate the use of ...
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Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in Namibia
I-TECH supported the Ministry of Health and Social Services in 2017 and 2018 in the development and dissemination of the national Cervical Cancer Prevention Guidelines including algorithms for screening, referral, and post cryotherapy instrument disinfection, and monitoring and evaluation tools ...
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Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women (DREAMS) in Namibia
In 2017, I-TECH began the DREAMS program in Khomas and Zambezi regions. The DREAMS program aims to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) through a core package of evidence-based interventions across health, education, and social sectors. At a safe space such as a school or community ...
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Facility-Based HIV Testing Services in Namibia
As a key component of I-TECH's support to HIV care continuum strengthening in Namibia, I-TECH supports the Ministry of Health and Social Services in efforts to achieve the UNAIDS target of “90% of people living with HIV will have a known status.” I-TECH supports above-site HIV testing activities at region-and ...
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Pamela Kohler

Pamela Kohler, BSN, MPH, PhD, co-directs the UW Center for Global Health Nursing and holds a joint appointment in Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing and the Department of Global Health. Dr. Kohler completed her nursing training at Johns Hopkins University, and worked clinically in the HIV Care and Emergency Departments. She holds a PhD in Nursing and an MPH in Health Services from the University of Washington.

At I-TECH, she leads the Tanzania Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) and evaluates HIV/STI programs and policies in several African countries. Dr. Kohler’s research explores social and programmatic barriers to uptake of services along the HIV care continuum, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), referral to and retention in HIV care, and sex education for pregnancy and STI prevention. She has a particular interest in improving HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services for adolescents, and in quality improvement of HIV and STI service delivery.

Publications

McConnico C, Jed SL, Marumo E, Mazibuko S, Mema GM, DeKadt J, Holmes K, Kohler PK. Systems Mapping of Sexually Transmitted Infection Services at Three Clinical Sentinel Surveillance Sites in South Africa: Opportunities for Integrated Care. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2017 Jan-Feb. pii: S1055-3290(16)30121-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2016.09.004.

Kohler PK, Marumo E, Jed SL, Mema G, Galagan S, Tapia K, Pillay E, DeKadt J, Naidoo E, Dombrowski JC, Holmes KK. A national evaluation using standardised patient actors to assess STI services in public sector clinical sentinel surveillance facilities in South Africa. Sex Transm Infect. 2017 Jan 27. pii: sextrans-2016-052930. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052930.

Kohler PK, Tippett Barr BA, Kangʼombe A, Hofstee C, Kilembe F, Galagan S, Chilongozi D, Namate D, Machaya M, Kabwere K, Mwale M, Msunguma W, Reed J, Chimbwandira F. Safety, Feasibility, and Acceptability of the PrePex Device for Adult Male Circumcision in Malawi. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Jun 1;72 Suppl 1:S49-55. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000774.

Kohler PK, Namate D, Barnhart S, Chimbwandira F, Tippet-Barr BA, Perdue T, Chilongozi DA, Tenthani L, Phiri O, Msungama W, Holmes KK, Krieger JN. Classification and rates of adverse events in a Malawi male circumcision program: impact of quality improvement training. BMC Health Serv Res. 2016 Feb 17;16(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1305-x.

Program Highlights

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Tanzania
For Tanzania to meet a WHO-specified target of one or more epidemiologists per 200,000 population [1] it will require an additional 250 epidemiologists who are well-trained and geographically distributed in all regions of the country. To help address this gap, I-TECH, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and ...
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Nursing Efficiency and Task-Sharing in Tanzania
I-TECH Tanzania led the development of the task-sharing policy guidelines for Health Sector Services approved in 2016 as well as the policy’s operational plan. While task-sharing is a widely known HIV service delivery efficiency strategy, still there is continues gaps between national strategies and actual implementation at the site-level [1,2] ...
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Peter Rabinowitz

Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH, directs the Center for One Health Research and has multiple faculty appointments including Professor, Global Health, at UW. The “One Health” center explores linkages between human, animal, and environmental health. Dr. Rabinowitz has expertise in zoonotic infectious disease; diseases of animal workers; microbiome sharing between humans and animals; emerging infectious disease; antimicrobial resistance animal sentinels of environmental health hazards; and noise and hearing loss.

Dr. Rabinowitz also directs the Canary Database, an online resource for evidence about animals as sentinels of environmental health threats from both toxic and infectious hazards. He was a visiting scientist at the Global Influenza Program of the WHO, and also in the Animal Health Division of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He completed a Family Medicine residency through the University of California San Francisco, and completed fellowships in General Preventive Medicine and Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

Program Highlights

Global Health Security Agenda in Kenya
I-TECH Kenya’s Global Health Security (GHSA) funded programs aim to advance the GHSA  through strengthening information systems and reporting ...
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Matthew Golden

Matthew Golden, MD, is a Professor, UW Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and he is Director of a the UW and Public Health, Seattle & King County (PHSKC) – HIV/STD Control Program, a collaborative project aimed at evaluating new public health interventions to control sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. This project also provides a fellowship training opportunity to teach how to integrate research and public health practice.

Dr. Golden works on research and public health projects related to HIV partner services in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He is the principal investigator of a CDC grant aimed at providing assistance to U.S. health departments in high-impact HIV prevention and training opportunities for persons interested in careers in HIV/STD-related public health practice. His research includes evaluations of population-based interventions to improve HIV care, a study of seroadaptive behaviors among men who have sex with men, research on new treatments for gonorrhea and HIV/STD surveillance projects, and program evaluations.

Program Highlights

Case Finding and Retention in Care in Mozambique
I-TECH works with the Mozambique Ministry of Health (MISAU) to expand a pilot project to provide an assisted partner services intervention. The project is aimed at encouraging patients newly diagnosed with HIV infection to disclose their status to their partners, and bring them to the clinic for testing ...
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