CIDRZ is pleased to have hosted Dr. Craig Wilson, Director of University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Sparkman Centre for Global Health. Dr. Wilson a Professor of Epidemiology Pediatrics and Microbiology made a presentation on “Community mobilization for HIV prevention and impact on the Continuum of Care in 15 cities in the US” at the CIDRZ research meeting.
Notable from Dr Wilson’ presentation were lessons and experiences leading to the formation of an Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) in the United States of America, a network funded primarily by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) with Office of AIDS Research funds and supplemented by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) focusing on youth aged 12-24 years.
The ATN community initiatives were implemented from 2002 to 2016 through a model, Connect to Protect (C2P): Mobilizing Communities for Structural Change to Impact HIV/AIDS conceptualized In 2001, when half of all new HIV infections were among people 25 years and younger, HIV determinants were viewed through a narrow lens, individual-level interventions were primary focus and limited collaboration with stakeholders outside of traditional HIV prevention and care..
The C2P model is based on the “Community Empowerment Framework” that emphasizes seven factors for successful coalition development and function namely, defining a clear vision and mission, strategic planning, coalition leadership, providing resources to mobilizers, documentation of coalition efforts and feedback on progress, technical assistance and making outcomes matter.
The central focus of C2P was the identification of local social and structural factors that impede HIV prevention and treatment in youth and utilized the power of community stakeholders to bring about structural level changes that would be difficult for any single organization to achieve independently.
Dr. Wilson has nearly 15 years of experience in Zambia working predominantly on capacity building programs supported by PEPFAR and working with CIDRZ, Ministry of Health and UNZA SOM.
His first Zambian visit was in 1998 before CIDRZ was operational to establish HIVNET 025 study and returned in 2004 to support CIDRZ scale up efforts and trainings. He facilitated technical aspects of Kalingalinga laboratory remodeling and establishment from 2004 to 2006 and did clinical trainings (pediatric and adult) in Lusaka, Southern and Eastern Provinces.