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Dr. Watt receives funding for Option B+ implementation science grant in Tanzania

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dr. Melissa Watt, Assistant Research Professor of Global Health and Associate Director of the SBS Core, received funding from NIAID to examine postpartum HIV care engagement in the context of Option B+ in Tanzania (R21 AI124344). Under Option B+, the new approach for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) recommended by the World Health Organization and adopted by Tanzania, all HIV-infected pregnant women begin lifetime antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy, regardless of clinical staging.

Dr. Watt leads the study along with Dr. Blandina Mmbaga, a pediatrician at the CFAR’s principal international research partner, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. The study uses an implementation science framework to examine the roll-out of Option B+ in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. Methods include key informant interviews, clinical observations, cohort surveys, and qualitative interviews, to understand both facility- and patient-level factors influencing care engagement. This formative work will help identify opportunities to improve the implementation of Option B+ to be refined in future trials.

Dr. Watt also studies HIV care engagement for women initiating ART during pregnancy in South Africa through a CFAR small grant awarded in 2015.