Past Projects

Details of our projects can be accessed under these thematic areas.

Thematic area 1: Maternal, Family, Child Health, Nutrition (MFCHN)

Thematic area 2: Adolescent Health; Well-being; Sexual and Reproductive Health

VUKA Family Program (VUKA): Supporting Perinatally HIV-infected youth in South Africa.

PI: Mary McKay
Co-investigators: Arvin Bhana, Inge Petersen

Overview
VUKA is a family-based intervention programme that has evolved from previous work on family-strengthening approaches in South Africa and the USA to strengthen protective factors and reduce risk behaviours associated with HIV and AIDS.

Aim
The study aims to 1) increase understanding of behavioral and health risk in this emerging population, and 2) to examine the impact of the VUKA Family Program (VUKA) to promote youth overall health and mental health, and reduce behavioral risk.

Collaboration
University of New York; University of Columbia; University of KwaZulu-Natal, Department of Health (Regional).
 
Project Status
The project is complete and data analysis has commenced. A series of key outcome papers have been prioritized for 19-2020.

Contact person
Arvin Bhana (arvin.bhana@mrc.ac.za)

VUKA EKHAYA: A take-home family intervention to improve adherence and reduce behavioural risk among perinatally HIV-infected youth.

PI: Arvin Bhana
Co-PI: Latoya Small

Overview
VUKA EKHAYA is an adaptation of the VUKA Family Program to support the Health and Behavior of South African HIV+ Youth. It is a “take home” family Intervention to improve adherence and reduce Behavioral Risk among perinatally HIV Infected adolescent youth and hopes to reduce the implementation burden on health systems.

Aim
The proposed study aims to address the need for empirically informed, effective and scalable interventions that promote adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and retention in care. It will be a companion study to the main VUKA trial.

Collaboration
Medical Research Council, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Department of Health (Regional)
 
Project Status
The projects in the field and will end in June 2018.

Contact person
Arvin Bhana (arvin.bhana@mrc.ac.za)

Thematic area 3: Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases

To document the rollout of decentralised management of DR-TB in South Africa 2014-2017

PI Dr. Marian Loveday

Aim
To determine the unintended consequences of the rollout of decentralised management of DR-TB in South Africa

Methods
A mixed method observational epidemiological study with an analytic and descriptive component

Project status
Data collection started in January 2015 and is ongoing. Preliminary analysis is being done and written up.

Collaboration 
Partners include National and Provincial Departments of Health

Contact person
Marian Loveday (marian.loveday@mrc.ac.za)

Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME)

PI: Inge Petersen (South Africa)
Co-Is: Arvin Bhana, Lara Fairall

Overview
PRIME is a research programme consortium comprising universities and Ministries of Health in five developing countries (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South African, Uganda)funded by DFiD. The goal of PRIME is generate international evidence on the development, implementation and scaling up of integrated treatment packages for priority mental disorders in primary and maternal health care settings in low resource contexts.

Aim
Develop, implement and scale up integrated treatment packages for priority mental disorders in primary and maternal health care settings in low resource contexts

Collaboration:
University of Cape Town is the Coordinating entity. University of KwaZulu-Natal; Knowledge Translation Unit, UCT, Medical Research Council, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Public Health Foundation, India, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, Nepal,  Butabika National Mental Hospital, Uganda, World Health Organization, National Department of Health, North West Provincial Department of Health
 
Project Status
 Field work has concluded and data analysis and publications are in process.

Contact person
Inge Petersen (peterseni@ukzn.ac.za)
Also see project webpage: www.prime.uct.ac.za

Comorbid Affective Disorders, AIDS/HIV, and Long Term Health (COBALT)

PIs: Inge Petersen, Lara Fairall, Grahame Thornicroft
Co-investigators: Arvin Bhana, Naomi Folb, Max Bachmann, Dan Chisholm, Tom Gaziano, Carl Lombard, Jill Haness-Hancock, Crick Lund, Paul McCrone, Martin Prince, Naomi Levitt

Overview
The COBALT study is a cluster randomised controlled trial at the level of health clinics in the North West
Province in South Africa (SA) to evaluate an intervention for HIV positive adults on antiretroviral treatment (ART) with depression. The relevance of this project to public health is that SA is home to the highest number of HIV positive people in the world and previous research indicates that depression is an important cause for non-adherence to ART. There is little evidence internationally, let alone in low resource settings, on cost-effective treatments in this patient population, or on their impact on HIV, on depression or on cardiovascular and metabolic disease outcomes.

Aim
To improve HIV outcomes and ART adherence through improved identification and management of depression, alcohol misuse and chronic diseases of lifestyle.

Collaboration
University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, Department of Health (National and Regional)

Project Status
The project  has concluded and data analysis and planned publications for 2018 has commenced.

Contact person
Inge Petersen (peterseni@ukzn.ac.za)

Thematic area 4: Social and Economic Policy and Health

Thematic area 5: Knowledge synthesis for strengthening health systems

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