Global WACh

February 27, 2024

MIND collaborators convene in Nairobi to advance childhood development and mental health research in Kenya


MIND Program collaborators at the Palacina Suites Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo: Mugo Mureithi)

In January, nearly 40 collaborators affiliated with the Drug, microbiome, and immune determinants of birth and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with exposure to HIV infection (MIND) grant attended a two-day convening in Nairobi, Kenya. Launched in early 2023, the project leverages three ongoing childhood development studies in Kenya and supports two core groups that provide access to technologies, services, training, and consultation to successfully execute the studies. The meeting provided a forum to share progress and discuss future directions of research collaborations from UW/Global WACh, Kenyatta National Hospital, University of Nairobi, Emory University, Fred Hutch, and Makerere University.

Activities from the convening include:

  • Developing simple neurodevelopment tools and interventions for country-wide rollout across education and healthcare
  • Focusing on maternal and child mental health
  • Addressing HIV stigma
  • Addressing father engagement in caregiving roles
  • Targeting common false narratives around breast feeding and HIV exposure
  • Developing culturally relevant interventions such as storytelling vs. book-sharing
  • Developing a culturally relevant adaptation of a standardized ASD/ADHD tool across studies
  • Implementation of a national hearing screening program



Collaborators sit together at the convening. (Photo: Ariana Magedson)

Collaborators are eager to continue the momentum and will host a retreat in Seattle this summer. The MIND program prioritizes training research trainees, assessors, community health workers, teachers, and psychologists. Collaborators are leveraging working groups and establishing a MIND Center of Excellence for continued training and implementation even after the project ends in 2027.

We look forward to sharing future updates as the project progresses.