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Training Years: 2014-2015, 2017-2018

Training Site: UNC Project Malawi

Country: Malawi

Mentors: Jennifer Leeman, RN, PhD; Charles van der Horst, MD

Title: Supporting the Implementation of Guidelines to Prevent Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV in Malawi: A qualitative descriptive case-study

Project Objectives: To describe the types of prevention support the UNC Project provided to 4 clinics, how support varied across low- and high-performing clinics, and factors that may explain variations in Option B+ implementation across clinics.

Mentors: Nora Rosenberg, PhD; Ben Chi, MD, MSc

Title: Assessing the Introduction of HIV Diagnostic Assistants (HDAs) to Improve Identification and Testing of the HIV Exposed Infants in Malawi.

Project Objectives: To improve the coverage of HIV testing including of the HIV exposed children, the Malawi Ministry of Health created the HIV Diagnostic Assistant (HDA) cadre in 2015, a healthcare worker role focused on HIV counseling and testing. The HDAs perform provider initiated testing and counseling (PITC); collect dried blood samples (DBS) for EID; collect blood for viral load testing, track HIV sample transportation and coordinate patient follow up and return of test results. Integration of HDAs into healthcare system has potential to improve coverage of the EID services. However, the Malawi Ministry of Health has no plans to evaluate the newly created HDA cadre in the context of EID. The specific aims of this application are:

AIM 1: To evaluate the effectiveness of using the HDAs to improve EID activities in Balaka district

AIM 2: To identify contextual facilitators and barriers to the successful implementation of HDAs in the primary care setting

NIH Support:  Fogarty scholars doctoral training award; Fogarty fellowship postdoctoral training award

Zimba Chifundo Headshot