News & Updates

NATURE adopts the TRUST code!!

The TRUST project, which came up with a Research code of ethics and involved PHDA among other international partners, continues to reverberate in the international journals.

Nature, an international journal publishing peer-reviewed research on science and technology, has introduced a new approach to improving inclusion and ethics in its journals (including Nature and all Nature Portfolio journals). 

Nature’s latest steps to improve inclusion and ethics are guided by the Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings, developed by TRUST, a European Union-funded project on research ethics in which PHDA was involved.

PHDA takes pride in contributing to research and improving inclusion and ethics in journals, science and technology.

To read more about this story click here.

Optimizing Effective Coverage of HIV/STI Prevention and Care Programs: A Program Science Approach

The Banbury Center hosted the “Optimizing Effective Coverage of HIV/STI Prevention and Care Programs: A Program Science Approach” meeting from 3rd to 5th May 2022.

This was a hybrid (physical and virtual)  meeting that brought together global experts in HIV/STI prevention and program science to identify, examine, and gaps in HIV/STI care, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here to read more about the meeting.

The basics of program science

Program Science is the systematic application of theoretical & empirical scientific knowledge to improve the design, implementation, & evaluation of public health programs.

The University of Manitoba, through the Institute of Global and Public Health (IGPH), has been working on developing a Program Science infographic. The purpose of the infographic is to provide current academic, program, government and technical partners (and any new partners)to the concepts of Program Science in a quick and easily digestible format. 

Click here to download the infographic.

'Getting to the heart of stigma' stakeholder engagement meeting

The International AIDS Society (IAS), National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) and Partners for Health and Development in Africa (PHDA) organized the Getting to the Heart of Stigma Stakeholder Engagement meeting on 12th April 2022 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi. The purpose of the meeting was to disseminate the findings of national studies exploring stigma and discrimination against people living and affected by HIV in Kenya; further, it was to seek commitment from policy makers and programme designers to address stigma and discrimination in a comprehensive, inclusive and integrated way.   

An evaluation of the UNAIDS Joint Programmes' work with and for Key Populations

There is a need to prioritise and focus on strategising the work for and with key populations globally, in order to accelerate action for key populations programming based on where infections are happening and aligning resources and capacity. This is one of the recommendations from an independent evaluation of the UNAIDS Joint Programme‘s work with and for key populations at the country level that was recently completed. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, and sustainability of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (Joint Programme) support for key populations at the country level.  UNAIDS currently defines “key populations” as female and male sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, people who inject drugs and prisoners.

The Uganda AIDS Commission visits the Medically Assisted Therapy programme in Kenya

The Kenya Ministry of Health, through the National AIDS and STI Control Council (NACC) and the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP), with support from the South to South Learning Network (SSLN), hosted a delegation of program leaders and implementers led by Uganda AIDS Commision (UAC) and Uganda Ministry of Health for four days in Nairobi. The aim of the visit was for the team to learn from the Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) programme in Kenya. The learning visit took place from 15th to 19th March 2022.

3rd South To South Learning Network Regional Champions meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

The third South to South Learning Network (SSLN) regional champions meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 21th to 25th February 2022. The meeting was attended by over 70 HIV prevention leaders across 10 African countries.

For the past two years, the South to South Learning Network has helped countries identify and address gaps within their KP and Condom programs. This was done by hosting various activities that encouraged country to country learning across the continent. The 3rd Country Champions meeting held in Nairobi was the first ever physical meeting for the different champions, and it gave them an opportunity to interact face to face with each other.

Congratulations, Dr Lyle!!

Dr. Lyle McKinnon, one of the UoM Researchers associated with PHDA, has been awarded the Bhagirath Singh Early Career Award in Infection and Immunity by the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity (II) mandate.  This prize was established in 2010 to honor the outstanding work of Dr. Bhagirath Singh, inaugural Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity and is awarded annually to the highest ranked early career investigator in the field of infection and immunity. Dr. Lyle’s grant ranked #1 in the virology panel. 

Program interventions to address the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in not only a health crisis, but has also spurred an economic and human crisis, globally. People infected with the virus face not just the disease but are also burdened with the cost of care, loss of income and employment. In addition, both those caring for patients and the infected face stigma and discrimination from their neighbours and others in the general community.

The Institute of Global Public Health (IGPH), University of Manitoba in collaboration with India Health Action Trust (IHAT) and Partners for Health and Development in Africa (PHDA), examined the impact of COVID-19 and designed program responses for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health interventions in India and HIV prevention, care, treatment and support interventions in Kenya.

The document aims to assist the respective States/Counties to learn from this experience. The document summarises the key interventions that were adapted and implemented in order to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Uttar Pradesh and Kenya.

Download PDF

 

Key population size estimates in Kenya

Mapping and size estimation exercises are important for scaling up key populations programmes. While population size estimates provide a denominator to programme for, mapping provides information on where key populations are and can be reached. These two pieces of information (where key populations are and how many are there) are important to plan and monitor the scale of key population programmes.

Kenya did its first key population mapping and estimation in 2012 and repeated the exercise in 2018-2020 to update the information. Kenya used various methods to map and estimate its key populations.

With this background, NASCOP partnered with IAVI to develop a film to document the key population size estimation process in Kenya and share this best practice with other African countries.

The target audience for this film is National Governments of other African countries who lead these processes in the countries, donors who fund these exercises and implementers and key populations groups who participate and guide these exercises.

Program interventions to address the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in not only a health crisis, but has also spurred an economic and human crisis, globally. People infected with the virus face not just the disease but are also burdened with the cost of care, loss of income and employment. In addition, both those caring for patients and the infected face stigma and discrimination from their neighbours and others in the general community.

The Institute of Global Public Health (IGPH), University of Manitoba in collaboration with India Health Action Trust (IHAT) and Partners for Health and Development in Africa (PHDA), examined the impact of COVID-19 and designed program responses for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health interventions in India and HIV prevention, care, treatment and support interventions in Kenya.

The document aims to assist the respective States/Counties to learn from this experience. The document summarises the key interventions that were adapted and implemented in order to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Uttar Pradesh and Kenya.

Download PDF

 

PHDA presents at CAHR 2021

PHDA in partnership with University of Manitoba and MAAYGO presented at the Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research (CAHR) in May 2021. The presentation introduced the key concepts of program science and shared a practical example of a HIV Self Testing project in Kenya. Program Science is the systematic application of theoretical and empirical scientific knowledge to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs. This presentation provided conceptual clarity of the approach and showed how this approach is applied in a real life intervention in Kenya. The presentation received very positive feedback from the participants.
Presenters : Dr. Marissa Becker (UoM), Parinita Bhattacharjee (PHDA/ UoM), Bernadette Combo (UoM),
Memory Melon (PHDA), Manas Migot (MAAYGO) and Dr. Rob Lorway (UoM)
Facilitators: Dr. Leigh Mclarty and Dr. Lisa Lazarus

'Getting to the Heart of Stigma' stakeholder engagement meeting in Nairobi

The International AIDS Society (IAS), National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) and Partners for Health and Development in Africa (PHDA) organized the Getting to the Heart of Stigma Stakeholder Engagement meeting on 12th April 2022 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi. The purpose of the meeting was to disseminate the findings of national studies exploring stigma and discrimination against people living and affected by HIV in Kenya and to seek commitment from policy makers and programme designers to address stigma and discrimination in a comprehensive, inclusive and integrated way.   

 

Findings from two studies were presented. Peter Odonyo from NEPHAK presented the findings of the Stigma Index Survey conducted by the organization in 2021. Pascal Macharia represented PHDA and presented the Getting to the heart of stigma study conducted with people living and affected by HIV with special focus on key populations. 

Some of the key themes that emerged from the studies included high prevalence of self-stigma and health care stigma, need to address vulnerabilities due to intersectionality of stigma with sexuality, livelihood, age, gender identity, drug use and the need for implementation of policies and laws to prevent stigma and discrimination. It was also shared the measurement of stigma and scaling up stigma prevention and reduction programmes should be prioritized.

Merab Ogunah from NEPHAK and Joyce Adhiambo from PHDA shared their very inspiring journeys of living with HIV in the last 20 years.

The meeting ended with a panel discussion with panelists including Dr. Ruth Masha from NACC, Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu from UNAIDS, Maxwell Marx from PEPFAR, Patricia Macharia from NASCOP, Allan Maleche from KELIN, Peter Odonyo from NEPHAK and Samuel Githaiga from Key Population Consortium. Daughtie Ogutu moderated the discussion and engaged the panelist to understand their commitment towards ending stigma and discrimination in Kenya.

“If communities provide services, that will significantly reduce the HIV related stigma and discrimination. We are working very closely under the leadership of the government to increase community response and monitoring as this can be a model for other countries; Kenya is doing it, but it has to be done globally.” Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu, UNAIDS.

An evaluation of the UNAIDS Joint Programmes' work with and for key populations

There is a need to prioritise and focus on strategising the work for and with key populations globally, in order to accelerate action for KP programming based on where infections are happening and aligning resources and capacity. This is one of the recommendations from an independent evaluation of the UNAIDS Joint Programme’s work with and for key populations at the country level that was recently completed.

The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, and sustainability of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (Joint Programme) support for key populations at the country level.  UNAIDS currently defines “key populations” as female and male sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, people who inject drugs and prisoners.

 

 

A theory of change developed during the inception phase provided the broad analytical framework and informed the evaluation protocol and development of ten evaluation questions. Evidence was generated at the global and regional level and through six country case studies undertaken in Cameroon, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, and Ukraine, countries  with varying HIV epidemiological contexts. The global study was led by Dr. Lawrence Gelmon (from PHDA), Clare Dickinson, and Parinita Bhattacharjee (also from PHDA) led the Kenya country study.  At both the global and national levels, the evaluation included the collabroration of representatives of local key population and PLHIV communities.

Some of the key findings from the evaluation include:

  1. The Joint Programme is recognised and respected for supporting key population responses. However, advocacy aimed at defending the human rights of key population groups needs to increase further.
  2. Key population programming needs prioritising to address the high rates of new HIV infections and the inequalities facing key populations in accessing services. Joint Programme resources should be aligned with evidence of where high incidence among key populations is occurring.
  3. Inclusive annual planning processes based on the strategic priorities and increased targeting of specific key population groups will enhance the relevance. Clear definitions of key population groups compared to other priority vulnerable populations are needed to focus resources on key population groups.
  4. The financial sustainability of key population responses is a strategic gap. Therefore, investments are needed in HIV specific programming for key populations, integrating HIV services and making Universal Health Care (UHC) work for different key population groups.
  5. The Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 tasks the Joint Programme with stepping up support for community-led responses. The next step is to understand what this means in practice and how this will be realised across cosponsors.
  6. The Joint Programme’s monitoring and reporting system needs an overhaul to enable a stronger ‘line of sight’ between investments, progress, and results of the Joint Programme’s work for different key population groups.

Some of the recommendations given in the brief include:

  1. There is a need to increase the prioritisation and strategic focus of the work for and with key populations. This includes clear definition across the Joint Programme for the differentiation of key populations from ‘other vulnerable populations, scaling up advocacy for key populations, and prioritising key population funding.
  2. Strengthen support for community-led programming by formulating guidance that addresses the diversity of key population groups, developing clear guidance, internal policies and oversight mechanisms, broadening engagement with and scaling up technical support for community-led implementors. This also calls for increased accountability to key populations through monitoring community engagement and influence.
  3. Intensify support to ensure financial and programmatic sustainability of key population responses by increasing involvement and dialogue with UHC, strengthening guidance, increasing technical support and incorporating sustainable systems developed and implemented during the COVID-19 epidemic.
  4. Accelerate data generation for key population programming, including through the Joint Programme Monitoring System.

A reference group composed of Joint Programme agencies, the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and global key population networks monitored the progress of the evaluation and contributed to the final report.

Read the whole evaluation brief here 

 

The Uganda AIDS Commission visits the Medically Assisted Therapy programme in Kenya

The Kenya Ministry of Health, through the National AIDS and STI Control Council (NACC) and the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP), with support from the South-South Learning network (SSLN), hosted a delegation of program leaders and implementers led by Uganda AIDS Commision (UAC) and Uganda Ministry of Health for four days in Nairobi. The aim of the visit was for the team to learn from the Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) programme in Kenya. The learning visit took place from 15th to 19th March 2022.

The visit was deemed necessary after Uganda attended five virtual mentoring sessions on the MAT programme led by Kenya in November – December 2021.  During the mentoring sessions, organised on the request of Uganda Champions, it was noted that Kenya’s MAT program has grown stronger due to the use of peer ‘microplanning’, scaling up of MAT sites in several counties, decentralisation of delivery of MAT  through use of mobile vans and outreach to prisons among others. The learning visit focused on the Uganda team getting indepth understanding of these strategies and adapt some of them in their country.

The visit kicked off on 16th March 2022 at NACC offices with Dr. Ruth Masha, the CEO of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council (NACC), welcoming the Uganda delegates and acknowledging the common goal of reducing new HIV infections among People Who Inject/ Use Drugs (PWI/UDs) shared by the countries. Dr. Masha shared successful strategies of scaling up the MAT programme in Kenya and emphasised the need for a multisecoral response to this challenge.

                       

“We are trying to think of what is causing this challenge and working on putting prevention using a 360-degree lens”

Dr. Ruth Masha, CEO, NACC

NASCOP presentation described the programme and the progress made in the last few years. The meeting was attended by various stakeholders respresenting civil society organisations, National Police Service and community representatives.

The Uganda delegates visited SAPTA, a Civil Society Organization and two MAT clinics in Nairobi in the days that followed. At the SAPTA Drop-in Centre (DIC), the visiting team interacted with the staff of the DIC, People Who Inject Drugs and peer outreach workers and clients who are enrolled in the MAT programme and understood how demand generation is done for MAT and use of misroplanning tools for planning and tracking clients. In the MAT clinic embedded within the Mathare Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nairobi, the delegates learnt  about the data management systems, methadone dispensing, MAT linkage forums and need for partnership with civisl society organisations, people who inject drugs and other stakeholders for implementing an effective programme.  

                          

 In the MAT clinic embedded within the Ngara Health facility, the delegates learnt about operationalisation of a mobile van to increase access to MAT among people who inject and use drugs.

The Uganda Delegates with Dr Sheila Ayuya, the MAT lead at the Ngara MAT clinic


On the last day of the visit, during the debriefing session at NACC offices, Dr. Daniel Byamukama from the Uganda AIDS Commission, thanked Kenya for organising the visit. He noted that Uganda and Kenya share similar context and challenges. Hence after visiting the sites and learning about the scale up of the MAT programme in Kenya, he feels encouraged to adapt these learnings in Uganda. He shared his commitmenmt to scale up the programme with people who use and inject drugs using a multistructural approach. The delegate shared their learnings and lessons that they can replicate in Uganda to improme their programme. The team thanked NACC, NASCOP and SSLN for planning and designing the visit effectively. To conclude, Dr. Byamukama appreciated the stakeholders, noting that all the delegation’s learning objectives had been met.


“ So much can be done inspite of challenges. We saw that Kenya has same structural barriers but has achieved so much. It is possible to be bold and we learnt tactics from CEO, NACC. We are going home to do some work!” Dr. Daniel Byamukama, Lead, HIV Prevention, Uganda AIDS Commission





“ Having the clinics in the DICs registered under MoH ensure that the DICs provide comprehensive  service package spacially for women. This is a learning for Uganda. Similar to Kenya we can use the drug peddlers  as allies for referral and support rather than fighting with them” Latifa, Harm Reduction Network, Uganda

3rd South To South Learning Network Regional Champions meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

The third South to South Learning Network (SSLN) regional champions meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 21th to 25th February 2022. The meeting was attended by over 70 HIV prevention leaders across 10 African Countries and was the first ever physical meeting with the SSLN country champions

The South-South Learning network (SSLN) is an initiative of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC) under UNAIDS, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and implemented by Genesis Analytics and the University of Manitoba (and Partners for Health and Development in Africa). The network was set up to support the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC) to strengthen country HIV prevention programmes through shared learning and networking.

For the past two years, the South to South Learning Network has helped countries identify and address gaps within their KP and Condom programs. This was done by hosting various activities that encouraged country to country learning across the continent. The 3rd Country Champions meeting held in Nairobi was the first ever physical meeting for the different champions, and it gave them an opportunity to interact face to face with each other.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Paula Munderi, the director for HIV Prevention at UNAIDS officially welcomed the champions to the meeting and expressed her joy at seeing the progress made by the network. She also appreciated that the SSLN has aligned its objectives with the global AIDS strategy 2021-2026.

The Champions meeting included presentations on African HIV prevention journey on SSLN, skill building sessions on outreach and microplanning for key population programming and optimisation of condom procurement, supply and demand and panel discussion with HIV prevention leads on key issues. The participants also had several sessions as country teams and as constituency teams. Field visits were organised for the champions, who visited Drop in Centres of the for KP subpopulations in Kenya and had a chance to interact with the staff and community members. Some of the workshop themes included Key Population outreach and microplanning, , and roles and responsibilities of various HIV prevention stakeholders.

During the week the champions were able to:

  • Engage with peers working in government, implementation, civil society and development organisations in Africa.
  • Reflect on the two years with the South to South Learning Network, the various learning events and insights, and how it can be translated into action.
  • Learn about new initiatives and best practices in HIV prevention in Africa

Among the highlights of the meeting, were visits to four of the KP sub population sites where the champions met and interacted with the programs. The visits gave the champions a chance to see key population programming in Kenya and share their own experiences with the programs.