From training nurses in South Africa to working with fishing communities in Thailand – our researchers are helping to improve the prevention, diagnosis and care of people with HIV and AIDS.
Research by Norwich Medical School has underpinned the roll out of training for more than 19,000 nurses in 1,900 medical facilities in South Africa, increasing access to antiretroviral treatment for millions of people infected with HIV.
Meanwhile research from our School of International Development on how the disease spreads in fishing communities has led to better access to prevention, treatment and care for more than 100,000 people.
In 2001 the United Nations General Assembly declared HIV/AIDS a global emergency and Member States agreed on new prevention and care targets. Research at UEA is helping to achieve world-wide goals to reduce infection rates by implementing strategies for prevention and care.
Prof Max Bachmann, from Norwich Medical School, said: “More than 95 per cent of HIV infections are in developing countries, with two thirds in sub-Saharan Africa – where more than 28 million people are living with HIV or AIDS. Around seven million are infected in Asia and the Pacific.
“The disease has a major impact on social and economic development – particularly when one or more breadwinners in a household are lost to AIDS.”
Prof Bachmann has been working to improve the diagnosis and care of people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa – which has the largest number of infections in any country.
His team worked with colleagues at the University of Cape Town to design and evaluate better training for nurses.
The new training model has been adopted by the South African National Department of Health and cascaded to 19,000 primary care professionals in 1900 medical facilities. It is now being adapted for packages in Brazil, Malawi and The Gambia.
Another research project on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in fishing communities has contributed to improved access to prevention, treatment and care for thousands of people.
The impact of the HIV epidemic in Africa first became apparent in a fishing village on the Ugandan shores of Lake Victoria in 1982. But since then, the vulnerability of fishing communities to the virus had been widely overlooked.
A UN-commissioned project led by Prof Edward Allison and Prof Janet Seeley revealed that men and women living in fishing villages are now between five and ten times more vulnerable to the disease than other communities.
Prof Seeley said: “Research in the 1990s showed that up to 20 per cent of fishing boat crews in Thailand tested HIV-positive, compared with 1.5 per cent in the general population. In the Lake Victoria region of Africa, fishermen are five times more likely to die of AIDS than farmers. And in the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, almost a fifth of fishermen are HIV-positive – making them the second worst affected occupational group after brothel-based sex workers. Our own research in the Lake Victoria region of Africa, has shown that fishermen are five times more likely to dies of AIDS than farmers."
“This stems from a variety of factors including the amount of time spent away from home, poor education, availability of commercial sex in fishing ports, drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of women’s rights. The fact that many fishing populations are highly mobile compounds the problem.
“Our research has contributed to more than 100,000 people living in fishing communities now being within better reach of prevention, care, and treatment.”
Research was funded by the Medical Research Council (UK), International Development Research Centre (Canada), Department for International Development and CGIAR World Fish Centre.
Professor Max Bachmann
Professor of Health Services Research, Norwich Medical School
I do quantitative evaluation of health care that affects population health. I try to advance and integrate evaluation research methods.
Professor Janet Seeley
School of International Development
Health and development, particularly social aspects of chronic diseases, focusing on HIV and non-communicable diseases; Ageing; Chronic poverty, resilience and deprivation; Migration and mobility; Livelihoods.