Tanzanian SEARCH fellow successfully registers for PhD programme at KCMU College

Werner Maokola was appointed as a SEARCH fellow in Tanzania at the end of 2014, and has now successfully registered for the PhD programme at KCMU College in Moshi, Tanzania. Werner will assess the implementation of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) and its impact on TB incidence and mortality among people living with HIV in Tanzania. His work will use routinely-collected HIV data from 19 clinics involved in the first roll-out phase of IPT. The aims of his work are to determine the coverage of IPT, the barriers to implementation and the impact on TB incidence and overall mortality. His work will broaden our knowledge on the effectiveness of IPT in routine programmatic settings and inform the government on scale-up.

We warmly congratulate Werner on this important step and wish him well in the next stages as a PhD candidate.

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SEARCH project meeting in Lusaka Zambia

The second SEARCH project meeting was held  on February 22nd 2016 at the Southern Sun hotel in Lusaka. The event organised by Dr Patrick Musonda and his team from the University of Zambia School of Public Health brought together over 50 delegates from the various stakeholders associated with the SEARCH project in Zambia. Attendees came from the Zambian Ministry of Health, the Zambian office of the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC)  , the University of Zambia Teaching Hospital (UTH) , ZAMBART  and the  University of Zambia School of Public Health. The meeting was launched with excellent presentations from Professor Charles Michelo and Dr Alwyn Mwinga which emphasised the importance of data sharing and the development of skills in data analysis in order to effectively develop health programmes. The SEARCH project was introduced by its Principal Investigator Dr Jim Todd who also presented formative research carried out in Tanzania on how HIV related clinical data was collected and used in the country. There were presentations from the Zambian SEARCH fellows , Tendai Munthali, Brian Muyunda , Aggrey Mwemba and Seh Gumede who is associated with the project. Each of these presentations introduced their individual research plans and described results from analytical work carried out so far. Dr Paul Mee from LSHTM introduced results from an analysis he has been carrying out of the HIV treatment cascade in Tanzania.

Thanks must go to Dr Musonda and his team for their excellent organisation of the event.

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Dr Jim Todd presents at the SEARCH research meeting

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Tendai Munthali Zambian SEARCH fellow speaking at the meeting

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Brian Muyunda Zambian SEARCH fellow presents his work on the PMTCT  cascade

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Seh Gumede presents her review of PMTCT research

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Delegates at the meeting

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Tanzanian SEARCH fellow registers for PhD with KCMU college

Prosper Njau one of the Tanzanian SEARCH fellows has now registered for his PhD program with KCMU college based in Moshi Tanzania. Prosper’s research is related to the effect of the roll-out of Option B+ for the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Tanzania. With option B+ any expectant mother found to be HIV positive during antenatal care will be offered anti-retroviral therapy (ART) irrespective of their CD4 cell count and will remain on treatment subsequent to the birth. Prosper will investigate how the maternal and infant morbidity and mortality outcomes have changed as a result of the introduction of Option B+ and whether there is evidence for any changes in treatment adherence or loss to follow-up.

We congratulate Prosper on this significant step in his academic career.

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The SEARCH team grows!

We are pleased to announce that a third SEARCH fellow has been appointed in Zambia: we welcome Lloyd Mulenga to the team. Lloyd is a clinician, working in the Adult Infectious Diseases Clinic in the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). His initial plans for research are around adverse events and resistance to ART, concentrating on second-line therapy.

In addition, Seh Gumede, who is a PhD student at LSHTM, has been recruited to help with nutrition teaching in Public Health at the University of Zambia (UNZA). Seh has an interest in analysing some of the routine data on nutrition and development in children infected with or exposed to HIV.

Read more about the SEARCH team in Zambia.

The SEARCH fellows in both Tanzania and Zambia are busy with various training programmes, including visits to LSHTM later this year for short courses and meetings with colleagues based at the School. We look forward to welcoming them to London.

We are planning to hold short workshops in Tanzania and Zambia later this year or early in 2016, for the fellows to present their ideas and work within the SEARCH project. Watch this space for further updates.

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Changes to the SEARCH team

In July 2015, a few changes took place within the SEARCH team.

Frankie Liew has taken over the Administrative roles with the project, after Christina Albertsen moved to a different project. Jenny Renju is a new part-time appointment, and will cover Fiona’s maternity leave.

We thank Christina for all her contributions to the SEARCH project, and welcome the new members of the team!

Read more about the SEARCH team at LSHTM.

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Congratulations to the second SEARCH fellow appointed in Zambia

We are delighted to announce that Brian Muyunda has been appointed as a SEARCH fellow in Zambia. Brian is the second SEARCH fellow to join the team in Zambia, following the appointment of Tendai in June.

Brian currently works as a Senior Health Information Officer in the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Brian works with SmartCare data, and has identified PMTCT as his area of research. He is interested in developing his research on the uptake of services throughout the PMTCT cascade. This includes attendance at ANC, testing for HIV, delivery of preventive measures, treatment (Option B+) and new born care.

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Congratulations to the new SEARCH fellow appointed in Zambia

We are delighted to announce that Tendai Munthali will be joining the team, as a SEARCH fellow in Zambia. Tendai currently works as a senior TB officer for the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH), in Lusaka.

Tendai will commence her fellowship with a literature review of HIV and SmartCare data in Zambia. Over the next year, she will develop her research proposal in close collaboration with Ministry colleagues and policy makers, and will attend courses to prepare her for the work ahead. Tendai will remain working with the Ministry while undertaking her fellowship, to ensure that her research focuses on issues relevant to policy decision making.

It is anticipated that further SEARCH fellows will be recruited in Zambia soon. Read more about the SEARCH team in Zambia.

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Collaborative analysis workshop in Moshi

In June 2015, a collaborative analysis workshop took place in Moshi, Tanzania. It was led by the National AIDS Control Program, and included 46 participants from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control in Tanzania, and several partner organisations involved in the delivery of HIV care in Tanzania.

The aim of the workshop was to process and analyse the rich data collected throughout the HIV Care and Treatment Clinics across Tanzania. This is the fourth such workshop of its kind, and previous reports are available on the NACP website.

Data were available from 746 clinics, and included data on 1,180,121 patients over the last 10 years. Analyses were performed on adults and children, assessing coverage, enrolment to care, ART initiation and retention in care. A full report is now in preparation and will be made available by August 2015.

The workshop offers additional benefits, bringing people from a range of disciplines together and enabling sharing of knowledge and skills. In addition, as part of the SEARCH project, we will make the final analysis programs from the workshop available when ready, so that they are available for use by others.

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Congratulations to the newly-appointed SEARCH fellows in Tanzania

We are pleased to announce that four staff members of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) in Tanzania have been appointed as SEARCH fellows:

  • Joseph Nondi, currently data manager/statistician for NACP (National AIDS Control Program)
  • Prosper Njau, progamme officer in PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission)
  • Renatus Kisendi, programme officer in HIV counselling and testing
  • Werner Maokola, TB/HIV coordinator

The selection procedure was competitive, with a number of excellent candidates, and we warmly congratulate the successful fellows. Over the next year, the fellows will be developing their research proposals in close collaboration with MOHSW policy makers, and attending statistical and epidemiological courses to prepare them for their research. The fellows will remain integrated with their current work to ensure that their research addresses relevant questions to directly inform policy.

Read more about the SEARCH fellows in Tanzania.

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Symposium on capacity strengthening at LSHTM

On 17 September 2014, members of the SEARCH team attended an LSHTM symposium entitled “Improving health worldwide: strengthening research capacity”, where they presented a poster on the SEARCH project.

The day included stimulating talks from staff at LSHTM, UK Collaborative Development Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Department for International Development, and the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit. Participants came from institutions all over the world, and engaged in lively discussions on their experiences and visions for capacity strengthening.

Our poster discussed the background to the SEARCH project, including the long-standing collaboration between LSHTM and the Tanzanian National AIDS Control Program. We outlined our plans for the future, such as the training of ministry of health staff in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia and their enrolment into PhD programmes in within-country academic institutions. Download the SEARCH poster (pdf).

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