CIDRZ at World AIDS Day 2016 “Hands Up for HIV Prevention”

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CIDRZ made a strong showing at this year’s World AIDS Day (WAD) Commemoration that took place in Lusaka under the global theme of “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.” Because knowing one’s HIV status is the necessary first step  CIDRZ Community HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) outreach teams provided free, confidential  VCT.  Meanwhile staff from the CIDRZ Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme of Zambia and Breast Cancer Prevention Programme of Zambia and the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision provided sensitisation and information to WAD attendees.

 

The CIDRZ stand was honoured to receive a visit from the Honourable Dr Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Health. Musonda Musonda, Head of Community Programmes hosted the honourable Minister and his entourage and detailed the type of HIV-related programmes for men, women and children that CIDRZ supports through technical assistance and directly provides as part of our vision “to see a Zambia and a region in which all people have access to quality healthcare and enjoy the best possible health, including a life free of AIDS.”

CIDRZ Receives National Science and Technology Council 2016 Science and Technology, Research and Development Merit Award

With the National Science and Technology Council Certificate of Appreciation and the 2016 Merit award are from left, CIDRZ Chief Scientific Officer Dr Roma Chilengi, CIDRZ CEO Dr Charles Holmes, and Deputy CEO Dr Izukanji Sikazwe.

 

CIDRZ Receives the National Science and Technology Council 2016 Science and Technology, Research and Development Merit Award in recognition of its contributions to improving health in Zambia through the contributions of high-quality, ethical scientific endeavour.

CIDRZ Facilitates Scientific Writing Capacity Development Workshop

For the third consecutive year CIDRZ conducted a week-long Scientific Writing Capacity Development Workshop for junior and mid-career CIDRZ researchers and post graduate students from The University of Zambia School of Medicine, as well as trainees from Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania.

 

This practical and intensive scientific writing training opportunity was facilitated by published CIDRZ faculty and mentors led by Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Roma Chilengi, Principal Investigator of the Hepatitis research programme, Dr Michael Vinikoor, Senior Research Technical Advisor, Anjali Sharma PhD, and Head of the Analysis Unit, Samuel Bosomprah PhD.

 

Successful production of a written product for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal requires substantial effort.  Among known barriers to effective writing are lack of experience, poor writing habits, unfamiliarity with the requirements of scholarly writing, and resistance to constructive feedback. How these barriers are handled generally determines whether a scholar ends up with a successful research career, or remains in the shadows of others thriving scientifically.

 

 

To be selected to attend this training opportunity applicants had to submit competitive abstracts on a topic relevant to public health in Zambia and the region, and to have access to clean data sets ready for final analysis. During the week the students received lectures on scientific writing, and individualised mentoring in writing and revising their draft. Each applicant had to commit to continued work with their mentor after the course so they could eventually present a manuscript ready for submission for publication.

 

More than 20 trainees benefitted from this Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) Consortium-and ViiV Healthcare funded training opportunity.

 

CIDRZ researchers disseminate results at the 8th EDCTP Forum in Lusaka

CIDRZ researchers presented eight posters and two oral presentations to an international audience at the 8th European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) Forum which took place this November in Lusaka this year under the theme, “Defeating poverty-related and neglected diseases in Africa: harnessing research for evidence-informed policies.”

 

CIDRZ presentations described recent clinical and implementation research results ranging from field diagnosis of Hepatitis B, impact of Hepatitis B/HIV co-infection on mortality, optimizing clinical outcomes of HIV/TB co-infected patients, meeting the challenges of collecting dry blood spots in field/community settings, tracing lost-to-follow-up patients to improve cohort data in urban Lusaka, feasibility of introducing prison health Committees to strengthen Zambian Prison health and qualitative work on understanding patient decisions to disengage from HIV care and treatment programmes. Presenters were Dr Mike Vinikoor, Dr Margaret Kasaro, Dr Caroline Chisenga, Virginia Munamunungu, Kalo Musukuma, Bertha Chibwe, Kombatende Sikombe, Kaunda Kaunda and Clement Moonga.

 

The EDCTP Forum is a biennial event and is one of the most prominent conferences on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other neglected infectious diseases prevalent in Africa. About 600 delegates participated in this event in Lusaka which was organised by EDCTP in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Zambia Ministry of Health. The Forum offered an opportunity for dialogue and exchange of ideas between scientists, policy makers, funders, donors and global health advocates in the field of clinical development of effective and accessible interventions against poverty-related diseases.

CIDRZ staff graduate from Bloomberg Philanthropies Data to Policy (D2P) Training

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Dr Thea Savory, Dr Mwanza Wa Mwanza, Mwansa Lumpa, Masuzyo Chitala, and Kombatende Sikombe of the CIDRZ Monitoring & Evaluation, Data, and Research departments recently graduated from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative D2P training.

 

The training consisted of two one-week long sessions in March and November 2016 with weekly conference calls to follow-up on progress. The course was facilitated by Michael Washington of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Data Impact program.

 

The purpose of the Data to Policy (D2P) course is to train local scientists how to identify important health challenges in their areas and collect and use data to support a proposed policy change to remedy that challenge in an affordable and sustainable way. Implementation research evidence should identify new healthcare solutions that are suitable to drive policy change for the better.

 

All of the CIDRZ trainees felt that the course was very useful and relevant to their CIDRZ work, being that it is a leading organisation in programme implementation and research.

 

“The course was very insightful and gave us a different approach to the kind of work we do. With the knowledge gained we will be able to use the data we generate from programme implementation to try to influence decision makers to reinforce or even change policy which will benefit and improve people lives. This knowledge fits under our CIDRZ strategy to positively impact health in Zambia and assist people to live a life free of AIDS by innovative solutions found through implementation science.”

UNZA students awarded CIDRZ/SHARE Scholarships to study Water Sanitation and Hygiene issues in Zambia

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CIDRZ, in collaboration with the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) Consortium, has awarded three University of Zambia (UNZA) students £2,000 each to conduct research in response to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) situation in Zambia. The trio are Mundia Nyambe, a Masters of Public Health student at the UNZA School of Medicine, and Changwe Mafuta and Samapimbi Munaye, both fifth-year students studying Civil Engineering at the same institution.

 

Speaking on behalf of CIDRZ and the SHARE Consortium, CIDRZ Deputy CEO, Dr Izukanji Sikazwe said, “I am proud of you for emerging successful in this award application. But what makes me even more proud is that you are young and upcoming researchers that have shown the passion to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge. I wish you luck in your various projects.”

 

Ms Nyambe’s research will be conducting comparative assessment of domestic water quality at sources and storage points at household level in selected peri-urban areas of Solwezi District in North Western province of Zambia.”Upon receiving the scholarship she remarked, “I am greatly humbled to have been awarded the CIDRZ/SHARE research and innovation scholarship. I am ready for this big and challenging task! I wish to bring out scientific based evidence that will help in policy formulation and management of public health challenges especially in the area of water supply and sanitation.”

 

Mr Mafuta’s research is about “Developing a lever eco-sanitary toilet that does not use water to flush faecal matter and uses solar energy to treat waste” and Mr Munaye’s research is on “Improving sanitation through recycling of plastic solid waste materials.” He noted “One of the biggest challenges students face is getting funding for the final year research projects. This burden has been taken away from me by the CIDRZ/SHARE project award. My hope is to see my innovation and research project contributing to resolving WASH challenges that Zambia is facing.”

 

Research works will help address gaps in WASH

We are excited with these research topics because we know they will feed into some of the challenges. As with most areas of health and development, there are a number of gaps in our understanding of the magnitude and mechanisms of the impact of WASH interventions. Achieving a better understanding of these through rigorous research that harnesses a range of research methods and approaches will build stronger policy and programmes. We are sure that these innovations and research topics will help us achieve that objective,” added Dr Roma Chilengi, CIDRZ Chief Scientific Officer.

 

Competitive Selection Process

Calls for applications were sent out to the UNZA Schools of Medicine and Engineering.  A total of thirteen applications were received and team of evaluators from CIDRZ and the UNZA reviewed the proposals and held interviews with each applicant.

 

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CIDRZ/ SHARE Collaboration

The SHARE Consortium is under the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and has been collaborating with CIDRZ and supporting various WASH-related research programmes. Currently, SHARE is supporting: Creating Demand for Sanitation in Peri-Urban Areas which aims to determine how far a state-of-the-art approach to behaviour change can enhance demand for and acquisition of improved toilets in peri-urban Zambia; and Rotavirus Vaccine Seroconversion which is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of diarrhoea among immunized child populations in Zambia.