In Zambia, FHI 360’s extensive field experience is complemented by a research program that is robust and growing, particularly in the area of HIV prevention and treatment. We collaborate with local and international partners to generate knowledge and work to address questions that have direct relevance to our program efforts. In September 2012, FHI 360 signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Zambia, the country’s leading research institution. The memorandum of understanding will allow collaboration on research and provide opportunities for graduate students to complete their academic requirements while working on FHI 360-supported projects. FHI 360’s current research studies in Zambia include:
1. Newly acquired HIV infection in pregnant women (HIV retesting study)
This is a quantitative observational cohort study of (1) pregnant women followed from the time they first test positive for HIV until they deliver, and (2) the babies of the mothers who were tested until six weeks of age. This cohort is part of the routine programs that offer services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
FUNDER: FHI 360
DURATION: July 2012–Ongoing
2. HIV prevention and family planning use among adolescents on ART (adolescent adherence study): an examination of individual, familial and environmental factors
The purpose of this study is to better understand adolescents’ experiences taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and their sexual and reproductive health needs from the perspectives of youth, their parents or guardians and health clinic staff. The overall goal is to identify ways to strengthen services for adolescents living with HIV.
FUNDER: USAID through FHI 360’s Preventive Technologies Agreement (PTA)
DURATION: August 2011–July 2013
3. The ShangRing study: a prospective observational study
This is a prospective observational study conducted to evaluate the occurrence of rare events or unexpected side effects that may not have been observed in smaller, well-controlled studies. This study is conducted within a routine service delivery system, at a larger scale than previously studied, in order to identify potential issues as male circumcision services are scaled up in sub-Saharan countries. ShangRing circumcision services will be offered as part of a minimum package of HIV prevention services, recommended by both the Kenya and Zambia Ministries of Health, that will also include HIV testing and counseling offered as an opt-out approach, active exclusion of men with symptomatic sexually transmitted infections and provision of syndromic treatment as indicated, provision and promotion of condoms, and counseling on risk reduction and safer sex.
FUNDER: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
DURATION: March–September 2012
Planned research includes:
• Using text messaging technology to improve retention among ART patients.
• Evaluation of clinical capacity to implement option B+ for PMTCT services
• Using quality assurance/quality improvemnt to measure capacity built at the district level to deliver high-quality HIV services
• Evaluating the use and effectiveness of a chronic care checklist to screen for noncommunicable diseases