Category Archives: Integrating Research and Practice

HIV Impact Assessment Shows Significant Progress in Malawi

Tiwonge Chimpandule, I-TECH Malawi’s Strategic Information Officer, presents the results of the 2020/21 Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA) to guest of honor Chrissy Kalamula Kantaso, Deputy Minister of Health (right). Looking on are Jeremy Neitzke, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy (center) and Dr. Rose Nyirenda, Director, HIV and AIDS Department in the Ministry of Health (left). Photo credit: I-TECH Malawi

On World AIDS Day, December 1, staff from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) convened with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Columbia University’s ICAP, and other national stakeholders in Malawi to present the results of the 2020-21 Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA). The commemoration, with the theme of “End Inequalities, End AIDS, End Pandemics,” was held at Bumba Primary School grounds in Rumphi District.

Preliminary results of the assessment, led by the MOH and ICAP, show that the national HIV testing program, supported by I-TECH, has achieved a significant increase in the awareness of status among HIV-positive adults—from 77% in 2016 to 90.9% in 2020-21.

Malawi has also made great strides toward reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 Fast Track targets, surpassing both the second 95 (results indicate that 98% of those who know their status are initiated on treatment) and third 95 (results indicate 97% of those on treatment are virally suppressed).

The assessment will be critical to informing future programming, says Dr. Rose Nyirenda, Director of the Ministry of Health’s HIV and AIDS Department. “The 2020-21 MPHIA has produced a wealth of information that will be critical for tailoring our services and to refine strategies for closing the remaining gaps,” says Dr. Nyirenda.

The HIV and AIDS Department also exhibited commodities (antiretroviral medications, testing kits, opportunistic infection (OI) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) medicines, condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision kits) that are procured and managed through the Supply Chain and Logistics Unit.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the organization that conducted the 2020-21 Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment. This assessment was led by the Malawi Ministry of Health and Columbia University’s ICAP.

Technical Support to the National HIV Response in Malawi

I-TECH seconded staff work in collaboration with government officers and program managers, and bring technical expertise to efforts to strengthen health systems. Continue reading »

I-TECH Shares Research at CUGH 2018

CUGH Logo

Logo courtesy of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH):  https://www.cugh.org/.

Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) are headed to New York for the 9th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference. The conference—held on March 16-18, with satellite sessions on March 15—will be co-hosted by Columbia University, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Peradeniya.

Featured speakers include Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, and Natalie Kanem, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

Building on the theme of “Health Disparities: A Time for Action,” staff and faculty from I-TECH will be presenting on the following topics:

  • King Holmes, MD, PhD, founding chair of the Department of Global Health and a co-Principal Investigator of I-TECH’s IAETC award, will join a morning plenary session and discussion about global health disparities. The discussion will be moderated by Director of the Fogarty International Center Roger Glass. Dr. Holmes will be joined for the discussion by Rose Leke, Gairdner Foundation Global Health Committee member and Emeritus Professor at Universite de Yaounde, and K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India.
  • Kate Wilson, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, is presenting a poster titled “Evaluation of a New Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) Intermediate Course to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness in Tanzania.” The locally adapted course significantly improved trainee knowledge and skills in field epidemiology, and the evaluation also showed evidence of improvement in data quality and performance at trainees’ workplaces and districts.
  • Lindsay Mumm, MPA, Program Manager, is presenting a poster titled “Creating Relevant Change towards Reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Target with High-Impact Leadership Training – Afya Bora Fellowship in Global Health Leadership.”

In addition to the research being shared at CUGH, I-TECH was represented earlier this month at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. Nancy Puttkammer, PhD, MPH, presented a poster titled “Multi-Month Scripting (MMS) and Retention on HIV Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in Haiti.” The retrospective study used data from the iSanté electronic medical record system in Haiti and found promising results that MMS for ART in virally suppressed patients improved retention and engagement in treatment.

 

About CUGH

The mission of CUGH is to build interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitates the sharing of knowledge to address global health challenges while promoting mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships between universities in resource-rich and resource-poor countries, developing human capital and strengthening institutions’ capabilities to address these challenges. Read more about CUGH: https://www.cugh.org/.

About CROI

Established in 1993, The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) was provides a forum for scientists and clinical investigators to present, discuss, and critique their research. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for researchers to translate their laboratory and clinical findings into tangible progress against the HIV pandemic. Read more about CROI: http://www.croiconference.org/.

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Tanzania

A training participant takes part in a handwashing exercise as part of a cholera outbreak investigation.

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 Prevention (CDC) and the Ministry of Health Community, Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in Tanzania, launched a new Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) for mid-level health professionals.

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Layering Research and Practice in Haiti

The EMR iSanté enables research on population health in Haiti, including the implementation of Option B+. This work was presented at the International AIDS Society Conference in 2015 Continue reading »

Strengthening National Health Systems through Task Shifting and Training in Namibia

Working with the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) to roll out treatment in the country, I-TECH supported the training of physicians to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) soon after the first national ART guidelines were published in 2003. I-TECH subsequently began supporting the training of nurses in both ART (2006) and Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness (IMAI, 2007) to increase health system capacity to expand delivery of ART services.

In 2010, I-TECH implemented a task shifting demonstration project to determine whether nurse-initiated management of antiretroviral treatment (NIMART) is a feasible alternative to doctor-led models. I-TECH subsequently supported an evaluation of this project which confirmed its feasibility for use in certain countries. In Namibia, NIMART was adopted by the MoHSS for use nationwide in 2013. I-TECH continues to hold NIMART trainings: five were held in 2016, with 125 health care workers trained.

Support for Pediatric HIV Care and Treatment in Namibia

I-TECH works to strengthen the quality of pediatric HIV care and treatment in Namibia through the development of a “model” pediatric HIV clinic and supporting decentralization of quality pediatric care to other facilities. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, I-TECH developed an innovative, structured, culturally-relevant intervention to help guide health care workers and caregivers of HIV-positive children through the process of disclosing a child’s HIV-positive status to the child.

An evaluation of the disclosure program showed that it increased health care worker and caregiver confidence and communication in pediatric disclosure, as well as demonstrating improved viral suppression, adherence, and HIV knowledge among pediatric patients. I-TECH clinicians have also worked at the site level to support the development, implementation, and monitoring of strategies to improve adolescent HIV services and transition of adolescents from pediatric to adult care.

Evaluating Laboratory Systems to Move toward Accreditation in Côte d’Ivoire

In collaboration with the MSHP, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (LNSP), and a local accreditation organization, the Regional Center for Health Evaluation and Accreditation (CRESAC), I-TECH is conducting a baseline assessment of laboratory services at 50 laboratories in 2017.

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