The International AIDS Society (IAS) virtually hosted the 11th Conference on HIV Science on 18-21 July 2021. The conference also included a “local partner hub” in Berlin, the original host city, for local experts to gather in person. This biennial conference brings together top HIV researchers, experts, and scientists for presentations and discussions on the latest advances in HIV research and practice.
Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) virtually presented the following posters:
The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), in collaboration with the Malawian Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began implementing recent HIV infection surveillance in April 2019. The project aims to establish a surveillance system among persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection by integrating point-of-care testing for recent infection into routine HIV testing services (HTS). A rapid test for recent infection is given to consenting clients 13-years-and-older who screen HIV positive within routine HTS across participating health facilities. Between April 2019-2020, I-TECH and MOH activated 485 testing points at 155 facilities in Malawi. All 155 facilities implemented recent HIV infection surveillance and reported data. The project has reached 11 of 28 districts to date.
These data allow the detection and characterization of recent HIV infection among newly diagnosed individuals and identify geographic areas associated with recent HIV-1 infection to inform geographic prioritization of HIV prevention and treatment strategies. The project has demonstrated high uptake and allowed characterization of recent infections according to socio-demographic and geographic factors. PEPFAR implementers in Malawi will collaborate with MOH to further investigate the reasons for high recent infection prevalence in identified clusters. Based on the findings of these responses, Malawi may focus on interventions such as youth-focused programs that aim to limit HIV acquisition and transmission among young people.
I-TECH India PL has provided national, state, and facility level technical assistance for improving quality, analysis and presentation of ART program data; developed innovative tools for tracking program progress based on data analysis of selected indicators over a period of time and submitted for national scale-up; and provided technical mentoring to improve quality of data collection and reporting by the ART Centers at 48 sites of India in the last three years.
Caryl Feldacker, PhD, MPH, has over 20 years of international experience focused on ensuring quality public health programming and rigorous program monitoring and evaluation (M&E), including more than ten years conducting HIV-related implementation science research in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Feldacker is the co-principal investigator (PI) on the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) Integrated Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) program in Zimbabwe. Her current research focuses on digital health solutions to improve the quality of patient care while reducing provider workload and program costs. She is PI for four National Institutes for Health (NIH) studies using interactive, two-way texting (2wT) between patients and providers to improve patient retention in care, provide post-operative telehealth, and improve data quality in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. For each initiative, she partners closely with ministries of health and local partners with the aim of helping strengthen monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research capacity for sustained improvement. Her digital health interventions employ the open-source Community Health Toolkit in collaboration with Medic.
Her broad implementation and research experience includes exploring trends in adverse events in VMMC programs; closing HIV service delivery gaps; strengthening routine data quality for accurate and timely reporting; task-shifting of healthcare workers; understanding patterns in loss-to-follow-up within routine HIV program settings; strengthening integration of family planning into HIV-related care; and expanding electronic medical record systems to provide integrated patient care.
Dr. Feldacker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington (UW). In addition to her work with I-TECH, Dr. Feldacker is affiliated with the UW Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children (GlobalWACh) where she aims to translate 2wT-based advantages for the postpartum care context.
The International AIDS Society (IAS) held their 22nd international AIDS conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam 23-27 July 2018. This year, the conference objectives focused on advancing knowledge of HIV through research findings, promoting evidence-based HIV responses tailored to key populations, activating and galvanizing political commitment and accountability, addressing gaps in and highlighting the critical role of HIV prevention, as well as spotlighting the epidemic and HIV response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Representatives from I-TECH were at the conference to present and discuss their posters:
“Aligning Botswana’s National HIV Testing Services Guidelines to the Era of Treat All.” (Botswana, Jenny Ledikwe)
This abstract explores Botswana’s experience of adapting the WHO HIV Testing Services (HTS) Guidelines, a significant step in reaching epidemic control of HIV, demonstrating the nation’s commitment to rigorous strategies that ensure all Batswana know their status and have timely access to prevention and treatment services.
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.
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 ... Read More
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 ... Read More
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 ... Read More
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 ... Read More
I-TECH provides assistance to MISAU in implementation of the national Quality Improvement for HIV Services (QIHS) Strategy, with the goal of improving HIV clinical care through the training of clinicians in QI cycles (Plan-Do-Study-Act) and mentoring to improve weak performance indicators. To expand the impact of its programming, ART Committees and distance learning have been used to reach health workers in more rural settings.
I-TECH continues to focus efforts on the improvement of data quality and use of data to improve clinical decision making. I-TECH works at the site level to build awareness and buy-in for data quality and use among site-level management and health care workers.
On-site I-TECH Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officers and Program Assistants monitor completeness and accuracy of service delivery documentation from the point of patient encounter to the point of final data capture in Ministry of Health and Social Services electronic databases. M&E Officers promote the use of data by clinicians and facility management for systems improvement and performance enhancement.
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. Continue reading “Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in Namibia”