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Launch of HIV Programs in Zimbabwe Hits the Right Note


To the brass beats of the Prince Edward School Jazz Band, on Feb. 6, a crowd of approximately 150 government officials, health professionals, and members of the press celebrated the launch of three programs in Zimbabwe, two of which are implemented by I-TECH Zimbabwe and partners. These vital programs aim to build local capacity and provide comprehensive services to prevent and combat HIV/AIDS in the country.

Speaking at the festivities were David Bruce Wharton, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe; Dr. Owen Mugurungi, director of the AIDS and TB Unit at the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC); Dr. King Holmes, Chair of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington; Dr. Ann Downer, Executive Director of the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH); and Dr. Batsirai Makunike-Chikwinya, Country Director of I-TECH Zimbabwe.

“Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is important to all of us, as is providing the best level of care to those living with this disease,” said Amb. Wharton. “Today we celebrate the launch of programs that will help us reach these goals together – programs that were designed together, by dedicated teams of collaborating partners from Zimbabwe and from the United States.”

In this spirit of collaboration, the programs, totaling $65 million over five years, support the Zimbabwe MOHCC with grant funding by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and implementation by local and U.S.-based partners. These partners include I-TECH; Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals; Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention Research Project; Compre Health Services; The Newlands Clinic and Newlands Clinic Training Centre; Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, Zimbabwe; and the University of Zimbabwe-University of California, San Francisco Collaborative Research Programme.

The Training and Mentoring Program seeks to develop and deliver in-service training on antiretroviral therapy, including the medical management of HIV/AIDS, women’s reproductive health, tuberculosis (TB), and TB/HIV co-infection to 8,000 health care workers across the country over five years. A mentorship component will also provide health care workers with access to ongoing learning and feedback on clinical issues. Health workers will receive refresher trainings via distance learning technologies, and the effectiveness of the program will be measured through a training database.

Also celebrated – and accompanied by a ribbon-cutting and presentation of 17 new vehicles – was the launch of the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Program. The program, building on work that started last spring, seeks to deliver services to 412,000 men in Zimbabwe between the ages of 15 and 49 years over the next five years. Medical male circumcision has proved very effective in preventing the spread of HIV. Randomized controlled trials in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa have shown that this intervention reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by approximately 60%.

“Together, these two programs will improve the effectiveness and quality of prevention, treatment, and care services for those affected by HIV/AIDS – and create better health systems for all Zimbabweans,” said Dr. Holmes.

I-TECH South Africa Hosts I-TECH’s First Training for Standardized Patients

I-TECH South Africa is using Standardized Patients to measure the quality of care for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for an operations research (OR) study in the Northwest Province. Ten South African actors, five men and five women, will visit 40 clinics before a new STI training program and at two time periods after the training.

New Article On Cost Effectiveness Of Training

MozClassSmallA new article on cost-effectiveness analysis of global training programs has been published in a leading journal on health workforce issues.

The article, “Cost-Effectiveness Analyses of Training: A Manager’s Guide,” was written by two I-TECH faculty: Gabrielle O’Malley, who is I-TECH’s Director of Operations Research and Quality Improvement, and Marcia Weaver, a Research Associate Professor based at I-TECH. Elliot Marseille of Health Strategies International in San Francisco also contributed to the article that appears in the journal Human Resources for Health.

The evidence on the cost and cost-effectiveness of global training programs is sparse. O’Malley and Weaver wrote this manager’s guide for professionals who want to recognize and encourage high quality cost-effectiveness analysis.

Weaver credits O’Malley with coming up with the idea for the article and spearheading it through several drafts over several years. In her role at I-TECH, O’Malley participates in meetings with policymakers and sees how compelling evidence on cost-effectiveness can be as well as the potential for cost data to be misinterpreted or misused.

“The objectives of the article are to promote professional standards for cost analyses and cost-effectiveness and show it’s feasible to provide evidence within the scope and budget of a training program evaluation,” Weaver said.

Botswana Monitoring and Evaluation Workbooks Now Available Online

In Botswana, I-TECH helped the Ministry of Local Government and the National AIDS Coordinating Agency to train and place local monitoring and evaluation officers in every district across the country (read more about that program here).

Botswana M&E officer
An I-TECH-trained Monitoring and Evaluation Officer conducts a community survey in Botswana.

Three self-directed learning workbooks developed for the program are now available online. The workbooks are designed to provide information and guidance for carrying out monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of health programs. They were created as training documents and reference materials for district-level M&E Officers in Botswana. They can also be used by other Program Officers in the district who are involved in M&E.

The first workbook, entitled An Orientation to District-Level Monitoring & Evaluation, focuses on tasks and information necessary for newly recruited M&E Officers who are beginning work in the field. It provides an orientation including: an overview of HIV and AIDS, the national health programs in Botswana, job description, core activities of district M&E Officers, an introduction to M&E, and an introduction to e-reporting of district health data.

The second workbook, entitled Doing the “M” in M&E, focuses on monitoring activities. This workbook provides information on basic M&E processes. It also provides a practical overview of data collection, data management, data quality, basic data analysis, as well as a guide on presentation skills.

The third workbook, entitled Doing the “E” in M&E, focuses on evaluation activities. This workbook provides information on designing evaluation studies, collecting and analyzing evaluation data, and writing reports.

Learn more about I-TECH Botswana.