NIH-PEPFAR PMTCT Implementation Science Alliance

The NIH-PEPFAR PMTCT Implementation Science Alliance aims to support effective implementation of evidence-based interventions to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (PMTCT). The Alliance is funded by OGAC and led by the Center for Global Health Studies (CGHS) at Fogarty, and NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The Alliance has used the funding opportunity NIH/PEPFAR Collaboration for Advancing Implementation Science in Prevention of Maternal-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) (R01) (RFA-HD-12-210) as a platform, and convened implementation scientists focusing on PMTCT, PMTCT implementers (including PEPFAR in-country staff), and in-country policymakers four times between 2013 and 2015. The goal of the Alliance was to extend the reach of the science and help overcome implementation challenges by catalyzing collaboration and communication among the Alliance members.

View a full list of NIH/PEPFAR Collaboration for Advancing Implementation Science in Prevention of Maternal-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) grant awards.

The objectives of The Alliance are to:

  • Enable PMTCT research to be better informed by challenges identified by the implementer community and locally-driven priorities
  • Encourage use of IS evidence to revise policies and delivery interventions
  • Enable researchers to better understand how to effectively engage implementers and policymakers throughout the research process

The launch of this Network was held in March 2013 at an initial meeting that provided the opportunity for researchers to describe their research and interact with policymakers and program implementers and articulate key implementation challenges and opportunities in the context of PMTCT in LMICs. The second meeting for the Network was held in Johannesburg and hosted by the ANOVA Health Institute. This meeting built upon the dialogue and learning from the Network’s inaugural meeting and was designed to enhance greater understanding of the role of implementation science methodologies and share lessons learned on successful collaborations between PMTCT researchers, program implementers and policy-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This meeting was centered on a set of case studies which were presented at the meeting. The third meeting was held in January 2015 and provided an implementation science training for Alliance members; and the final meeting was held in May 2015 and provided an opportunity for grantees to present and discuss their implementation science results, as well as for all Alliance members to reflect on the lessons learned during the Alliance and possible future steps.

Results

The Alliance has successfully enabled cross-fertilization of ideas, insights and experiences as the research progressed and was able to bridge the gap between PMTCT research and program/policy through dialogue among scientists, implementers and policymakers.

Ultimately, the Alliance was able to:

  • Enable PMTCT research to be better informed by challenges identified by the implementer community and locally-driven priorities
  • Stimulate new implementation research questions and collaborations
  • Catalyze a spinoff country-specific and country-led HIV implementation science network
  • Enable researchers to better understand how to effectively engage implementers and policymakers throughout the research process
  • Encourage use of IS evidence to revise policies and delivery interventions

Several publications resulted from this project, including:

Background

One of the greatest successes in HIV research has been the progressive series of clinical trials that have identified highly effective interventions to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (PMTCT). In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), implementation of PMTCT interventions continues to expand. However, despite this scale-up, implementation of interventions to identify and treat pregnant HIV positive women has been slowed by significant bottlenecks and challenges in the very settings where they are most needed. As a result a considerable number of HIV-infected pregnant women remain unidentified and do not receive treatment. Indeed, as countries look to further implement and scale up PMTCT programs, implementation science holds promise as a scientific strategy to address barriers to effective implementation of evidence-based interventions in PMTCT programs. Moreover, effective use of evidence from implementation science can be enhanced through more robust collaborations between researchers, program implementers, and policymakers.

Steering Committee

  • James McIntyre, ANOVA Health Institute
  • Laura Guay, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  • George Siberry, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Lynne Mofenson, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Sheryl Zwerski, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Pim Brouwers, National Institute of Mental Health
  • Gina Brown, NIH Office of AIDS Research
  • NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health
  • Heather Watts, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State
  • Nathan Shaffer, World Health Organization

Inquiries

Rachel Sturke, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.I.A.
Deputy Director
Fogarty Division of International Science Policy, Planning and Evaluation
Email: Rachel.sturke@nih.gov

Updated May 2018

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