ICAP at Columbia University will conduct a rapid, real-time evaluation of Ebola community care centers (CCCs) in Sierra Leone with funding support from UK Department of International Development (DFID).
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “closing the gap”—getting more people tested and on HIV treatment. What are some of the challenges to realizing these goals? How is ICAP helping to close these gaps?
While great progress has been achieved in both HIV prevention and treatment globally, we have a long way to go. Expansion of testing and treatment for those found to be HIV-infected is a key global priority. Without people knowing their status and taking appropriate action, whether they are HIV-negative or HIV-positive, we will not be able to see the fruit of the efforts.
At the Bagamoio Health Center, in a bustling neighborhood of Maputo, Mozambique, patients seeking HIV care are lined up hours before their appointments and nurses and counselors see a constant stream of patients throughout the day. While the patient load remains steady, services have undergone a transformation to streamline HIV care. Patients diagnosed with HIV at Bagamoio now receive services designed to accelerate patient initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Bagamoio is one of ten clinics selected to participate in ICAP’s Engage4Health study, an implementation science research initiative, supported by USAID.
ICAP has been working with the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 2010 to expand the quality, availability, and integration of HIV services for individuals and families. As part of this comprehensive HIV care and treatment project, ICAP works in Kinshasa and Katanga provinces to strengthen the service capacity at each level of the health care system. As a result of an extensive network of ICAP-supported hospitals, laboratories, and local clinics, over 500,000 people have received HIV testing and learned their status in DRC over the last four years.
Amidst growing concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, moderated a symposium at the Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH) entitled “Confronting Ebola: Crafting a public health response”. To date, more than 10,000 individuals have been diagnosed and close to 5,000 have died from Ebola virus disease (EVD). The symposium was part of an effort taking place across Columbia University to disseminate accurate information about the disease, to mobilize resources and leadership in order to confront this public health threat.
This month, ICAP launched the Option B+ online training for nurses and midwives. A new approach recommended by WHO to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), Option B+ includes initiating lifelong antiretroviral treatment (ART) for pregnant and breastfeeding women infected with HIV.