Global WACh’s ATTACH team shared scientific findings at the annual Inter-CFAR Sub-Saharan Africa Symposium from January 31st to February 2nd, 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The annual symposium incorporates career development activities targeted to the needs of early career investigators, hold keynote talks addressing scientific topics of interest for African HIV research, and identify novel future research directions. The team’s research posters generated a lot of interest in how adolescents transition from pediatric to adult HIV care, and opportunities to discuss overcoming challenges.
“Transitioning Adolescents to Adult HIV Care: Health Facility Models of Care and Transition Practices” presented by Dr. Caren Mburu, Pediatrician at Kenyatta National Hospital. In-person surveys were conducted with clinic managers from a random sample of 100 health care facilities to collect information on models of adolescent care, types of activities conducted, definitions of transitions, and availability of transition guidelines and track tools. Dr. Mburu’s data revealed a lack of uniformity among these factors, which is urgently needed to improve transition to adult care for adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Identifying adolescent records across multiple databases: Challenges and opportunities in HIV care” presented by Alvin Onyango, Data Manager at UW-Kenya. Kenya has led the use of electronic medical records to facilitate identification and tracking of medical records and viral load testing results, but HIV clinics across Kenya use different formats of unique patient identifiers, making the process of merging data challenging. Alvin’s research concludes that improved consistency in unique identification formatting could improve tracking and merging of adolescent medical record data across multiple data sources.
“Intensified Case Finding and Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment Among HIV-Infected Adolescents in Kenya” presented by Danae Black, PhD in Epidemiology Candidate at UW. The results demonstrated the burden of tuberculosis (TB) and under-utilization of TB preventative therapies for HIV-infected adolescents in Kenya. Dane’s findings identified frequent medication shortages across 101 HIV care facilities, meaning that a large number of patients exposed to TB have started therapy, but few have completed it. The gaps leave patients, whose immune systems are weakened by HIV, at higher risk of developing potentially severe forms of TB. Danae’s poster was a winning poster in the UW Global Healthies Poster Competition.