GHLI to present research at international conference in Africa

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The Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) will have a significant presence at this year’s International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) offering presentations about ways to reduce the risk of mother to child transmission of HIV and identifying factors associated with improved performance in maternal and neonatal health in primary health care units (PHCUs).

Patrick Byam, program manager at GHLI, will offer the two presentations at the ICASA meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dec. 4-8.

Byam will discuss a new tool that promotes adherence to guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. “The risk of vertical transmission of HIV can be reduced from up to 30% to less than 2% with adherence to proven interventions,” says Byam. “However, insufficient staffing, poor medical records, and compliance among patients are key challenges. Our goal was to develop a simple tool to track HIV-positive mothers and their infants.” Designed for use in rural, resource-limited health care delivery settings, this tool serves three main functions: ensure use by clinicians, prompt treatment for patients, and quality improvement and reporting of patient information. The tool is ready for use across Ethiopia and similar settings, with flexibility to incorporate WHO 2010 guidelines and other country-specific targets.

Byam will offer a second presentation reviewing lessons learned from the Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative — an intervention put in place in 2006 by the Yale GHLI and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to improve the overall performance of 30 PHCUs. “We wanted to find out why some PHCUs perform better than others,” explains Byam. “Surprisingly, what we found was that factors we thought would differentiate the performance of a PHCU didn’t necessarily matter — such as inadequate budgets, cultural influences or location. What the researchers did find mattered in attaining a high-performing PHCU was: good relationships with the district health office; ability to consistently and effectively supervise and manage staff; and ability to mobilize community members.”

ICASA is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees from around the world.

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