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.