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CHEPA seminar looks at use of Malawi’s public health system to fight HIV transmission

25 Nov 2014

Applying health systems research to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child in an impoverished country will be discussed on Dec. 2 by officials from Dignitas International (DI) a Canadian medical humanitarian non-government organization (NGO) that supports the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Malawi in the implementation and scale-up of HIV-related services through the public health system.

Dignitas medical advisor Dr. Adrienne Chan, Assistant Professor with the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto, and Joshua Berman, Knowledge Translation and Policy Manager for Dignitas, will present Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Malawi: A Case Study in Health Systems Research and Policy Impact in Low Resource Settings.

The seminar will be held on TUESDAY Dec. 2 in CRL B119, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The seminar will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend.

The United Nations lists Malawi as the 10th poorest country in the world. It is also in the midst of a devastating human resource crisis in health care. In this setting, over 15,000 patients have been enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2004. Treatments are provided in the main hospital and also decentralized in more than 19 rural health centres.

As an academic NGO, DI has links with the University of Toronto, the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the University of Capetown, REACH Trust Malawi and the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust. Research and knowledge translation activities for DI are primarily focused on monitoring and evaluation efforts and operations research activities directly related to program implementation and improvement in health services delivery.

DI medical advisor Dr. Adrienne Chan is an Assistant Professor with the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto, and is cross-appointed to the Division of Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

She trained in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She was a Frank Knox Fellow at Harvard University, where she completed a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in International Health. She has clinical experience in Lesotho and in Zimbabwe, and was a Yale University/Johnson and Johnson Physician Scholar in International Health. In 2007, Chan joined Dignitas International as the organization’s HIV Clinic Coordinator in Zomba, Malawi and was its medical coordinator until her return to Toronto in 2010.

Her research interests include HIV care and treatment decentralization, HIV/TB integration in resource limiting settings, and scale-up of initiatives to prevent of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Josh Berman is DI’s Knowledge Translation and Policy Manager, leading the development of organizational knowledge translation plans and initiatives to increase the impact of the organization’s research.

He also works closely with Malawi’s Ministry of Health in supporting the development of the Malawi Knowledge Translation Platform, an initiative that aims to strengthen linkages between Malawi-based health researchers and policymakers.

Prior to returning to Canada to join Dignitas in 2010, Berman served as Associate Director of the Lesotho Boston University Health Alliance, where he directed a team of local and international staff in the development of Lesotho’s first postgraduate family physician training program as well as a clinical quality improvement program at Lesotho’s Northern Regional Referral Hospital.

Berman has a Masters of Public Health degree from Boston University, concentrating in international health. 

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