Operational Research

The USAID funding for Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre from 01/10/2012 to 30/09/2017 is for providing HIV and TB diagnosis, care, support, treatment and referral services at primary care level to residents of informal settlements; interventions that build capacity in the local Department of Health (DoH) clinics; transition of the USAID-funded direct service delivery to the DoH and the implementation and evaluation of effective innovative approaches to integrated primary care for HIV and TB.

Underpinning these innovations are five operational research projects, including specific focus on paediatric care, comprehensive PMTCT services over the spectrum from pre-pregnancy to maternal and infant care, intensified TB and HIV case finding at clinic and community level, and improving adherence and retention-in-care among children, adolescents and adults, as follows:

1. Primary care model for paediatric HIV care, diagnosis of paediatric TB and management of paediatric TB/HIV co-infection at primary care level (MORE>
2. Optimizing the primary care model for antenatal care and PMTCT (MORE>and Safer pregnancy for HIV-affected couples (MORE>
3. Case finding for TB and HIV using a community-based program (MORE>
4. A model of treatment monitoring, adherence support and antiretroviral treatment distribution based on community health care workers (MORE>
5. Adolescent support groups to improve adherence and retention-in-care at primary care level (MORE>

Findings from the research will be utilized to develop new models for primary care and community care and transition effective innovations into policy, implementation and institutionalization to inform the development of the Department of Health policies on integration of HIV/TB in Primary Health Care.

In addition, WHWC is developing an evidence base that will inform South African Policy ahead of National Health Insurance, part of which is to assess the unmet health needs of informal settlements by mapping the Diepsloot community using GIS software to identify “hotspots” of unmet health needs (MORE>

Research Collaborators

Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre has established collaborations with a number of South African and international institutions in order to ensure the success of these research projects.  Current collaborators include the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Right to Care, the Clinical HIV Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand, and a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health.  Witkoppen draws on the diversity of expertise and research experience from all collaborators in order to successfully achieve their research aims.

In addition, Witkoppen engages local community partners in research through our Community Advisory Forum as well as the Diepsloot Service Providers meeting. We also engage with the Department of Health at the provincial, district and subdistrict level in order to inform research aims, and to feedback the results of research.