The Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) was established in 1996 and formed from a partnership between Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Harvard School of Public Health. While the original partnership was structured to build HIV lab capacity and expertise, the current mission of BHP is to support Botswanan public health research, education prevention and treatment services program. BHP remains heavily involved in HIV research, but has expanded its public sphere presence working on cardiovascular, oncology, birth outcomes, and nutrition projects.
The main headquarters of BHP, including the Botswana Harvard HIV Research Laboratory (BHHRL) are located on the grounds of the main public hospital in Botswana, Princess Marina Hospital. There are four clinical sites on the campus of Princess Marina that are fully occupied by BHP clinical research staff conducting randomized clinical trials and observational studies.
In addition, BHP maintains a Community Advisory Board (CAB), which is supported by a separate grant structure at BHP. The Board proposes research agendas for BHP and provides feedback on planned studies.
BHP AMBITION Team
Dr. Mosepele Mosepele MS, MSc: BHP Principal Investigator
I am a Senior Lecturer & Acting Assistant Programme Director at the University of Botswana Faculty of Medicine. I am a Specialist Physician, Infectious Disease Consultant and Clinical Epidemiologist with experience in research focused on HIV-associated complications such as cardiovascular disease, immune dysregulation plus HIV treatment and care. Some of my work on HIV treatment and care has focussed on (1) the link between HIV drug metabolism and clinical outcomes, and (2) use of social network theory to identify HIV patient treatment partner characteristics that are associated with viral suppression.
Dr. Tshepo Leeme: Study Doctor
I have been working in clinical research since 2014, as a study doctor for the AMBITION Phase II trial in Botswana. Previously, I worked as a medical officer in the public health system in Botswana.
I hold a MBBS from Monash University, Australia, a postgraduate diploma in HIV management from Stellenbosch University and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. I am currently studying for an MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM, funded through the AMBITION grant.
Nametso Lekwape: Senior Research Nurse
I work as the Senior Research Nurse at the Gaborone site. I have been involved in research since 2009, and began working with the AMBITION team on the Phase II trial in 2014. I obtained my Diploma in General Nursing in 2007 from the Institute of Health Sciences, Gaborone, and I am currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing Health Services Management and Education through the University of South Africa.
Keatlaretse Siamisang: Part-time Study Doctor
I joined the AMBITION Project in May 2018. I am currently working as a part-time study doctor at BHP. I was born in Letlhakeng, Botswana. I completed my Medicine, Surgery and Medical Sciences Degrees at the University of Melbourne in 2010. I undertook a Medical Internship at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in 2011. I proceeded to work as a Medical Officer in Nyangabgwe Hospital from 2012 to 2013. I then enrolled as a Medical Student at the University of Botswana and switched to a Masters of Medicine and Public Health in 2018.
Katlego Tsholo: Junior Research Nurse
I began working as a study nurse on the AMBITON Phase II trial in August 2015. Before this, I worked at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital and Princess Marina Hospital. I studied General Nursing at the Institute of Health Sciences, Gaborone, and am now undertaking a BA (CUR) through the University of South Africa.
Ikanyeng Rulaganyang: Research Nurse
I hold a Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) degree from the University of Botswana. I have joined the AMBITION team here at BHP for a few months to provide maternity leave cover for Nametso Lekwape, our Senior Study Nurse.
I worked as a Registered Nurse for the Ministry of Health for five years from 2010 to 2015, before embarking upon a career in research. Since then, I have been actively involved in Botswana-UPenn Partnership-led research programmes around infectious diseases, including the recent CDC-funded Cryptococcal Antigen Screening study.
I have extensive experience in both clinical care and research, and enjoy being a part of impactful health programmes.
Norah Mawoko: Study Pharmacist
I hold a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Zimbabwe and Master of Science in Clinical Research from the University of Liverpool.
I started my research career with the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute in 2005, during which time I have worked on over ten protocols, mainly on anti-retroviral therapy and opportunistic infections in HIV-infected or HIV-exposed participants. I also enjoyed two years with the BHP PEPFAR funded Master trainer programme. I have participated in the set-up of four research pharmacies in Botswana as well as training and mentoring pharmacy staff and other health care professionals.
In addition to my role as Pharmacist at the Gaborone site, I assist with the procurement and supply of study drugs to all sites.
Kwana Lechiile: Laboratory Scientist
I began working for the AMBITION Phase II trial in 2015, and remain part of the team for the Phase III study. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree double majoring in Biochemistry and Human Physiology from the University of Cape Town. Since graduation, I have been primarily involved in paediatric gastroenteritis and rotavirus surveillance projects. I have experience in manual and automated nucleic acid extractions, real-time PCR, Culturing, ELISA, and ELISpots.
Refilwe Mmipi: Administrative Assistant
I am an Administrative Assistant by profession, and hold an Advanced Diploma in Marketing Management. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor degree in Marketing Management. I began working for Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership in 2013, and joined the AMBITION study team as the Administrative Assistant on 1 June 2017.