A team of researchers, led by LSHTM alumnus Benjamin Momo Kadia, are proposing to conduct the first evidence review and synthesis investigating the barriers to and enablers of uptake of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in the context of integrated treatment for TB/HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of TB/HIV co-infection is highest.
The World Health Organisation’s global tuberculosis (TB) report of 2019 revealed that in 2018, 1.5 million people had died from TB. Most of these patients were co-infected with the HIV virus. An important intervention, which is being scaled up to limit the burden of TB and HIV co-infection is the delivery of concurrent treatment of both infections by one health team, at the same location and at the same time. This is referred to as integrated TB/HIV treatment. The degrees of uptake of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy are very important indicators of the quality and treatment outcomes of this intervention. However, these indicators and their determinants remain unclear in sub-Saharan Africa where the burden of HIV and TB co-infection is highest.
Benjamin Momo Kadia, a 2018/2019 MSc Public Health for Development alumnus, had conceived the idea of using a systematic approach to identify, critically appraise and synthesise published evidence on the barriers to and enablers of uptake of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in the context of integrated treatment of TB and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Benjamin was inspired by challenges which he had experienced as coordinator of an HIV care clinic in his home country, Cameroon. His collaborators in this project are Christian Akem Dimala (2015/2016 MSc Public Health for Development alumnus), Noah Fongwen Takah (Senior Clinical Research Fellow at LSHTM) and Professor Adrian Smith of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. The protocol for this research project was recently published with the BMJ Publishing Group.
The authors of this systematic literature review intend to use the findings of their research to identify key intervention points in the integrated HIV/TB treatment continuum. They will be looking for potential improvements to the uptake of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy and ultimately, survival among HIV/TB co-infected patients.
Benjamin Momo Kadia describes what he hopes to achieve in the future.
I would like to use this opportunity to advocate for more collaborative research among LSHTM alumni from low-income settings. This will be a great avenue through which these alumni will truly be at the forefront of research, innovation and development in their home countries.
I hope to strengthen mentoring and collaborative networks for early career researchers in sub-Saharan Africa, and to encourage physicians in this setting to engage in health research. In this light, I am pleased to have been selected as an AIDS 2020 Mentor by the International AIDS Society. In this capacity, I provide technical and intellectual guidance to less experienced researchers from resource-limited settings. The mentoring programme aims to increase their chances of showcasing their research at the International AIDS Conference, which is the world’s largest and most influential meeting on HIV research.
To find out more, please visit the published project on BMJ Publishing Group.