Outside the biomedical box of integrated care research. Meet some of our new RESPOND-AFRICA staff
The RESPOND-AFRICA consortium is made up of a range of diverse professionals from Europe and Africa. They are working on several different projects all aimed at improving health outcomes for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and HIV in Africa. They are experts in unique activities that range from infectious disease care, non-communicable diseases care, project management, implementation, social science, or health economics. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be involved in a large global health program including multi-country randomised control trials? We have interviewed some of our new RESPOND-AFRICA members who are both on the ground and behind the scenes to give you an idea. Follow along in our series documenting some of our RESPOND-AFRICA consortium members!
Interviewee name: Kaliba Fedress
Role in INTE-AFRICA: Grant Officer
Where they are based: Kampala, Uganda
Past role/job: Programmes Assistant
Who are you?
I am Community Psychologist by qualification, with tremendous experience and proficiency in research grants management and administration from Uganda working at The Aids Support Organisation (TASO-UGANDA).
How has your journey helped you lead to this point in your career?
With a passion to learn and innovate in research, I contributed greatly to the establishment of the Office of Research Administration and Grants Management at TASO. This effort has seen the office grow to manage big international grants and establish collaborations including RESPOND-AFRICA.
With the increased need to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, integrated models have been implemented in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission
How did you initially get involved in research?
My first engagement in research was when I was an undergraduate student at Makerere University where I embarked on doing research and wrote a dissertation. There, after joining TASO and after I understood its strategic direction, I embarked on a journey to support it to achieve its strategic goal. I contributed to the establishment of the Research Administration and Grants Management office as one of the marketing strategies to finance the research products of the organisation. I thus found myself dealing with more complex research engagements.
I contributed greatly to the establishment of the Office of Research Administration and Grants Management at TASO
How has the field of integrated care, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, been changing?
With the increased need to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, integrated models have been implemented in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), which aims at promoting child health. Among adults, integrated care has as well been implemented in the treatment of HIV and its opportunistic infections, especially TB. In Uganda, integrated care has expanded to the integration of safer conception methods into routine HIV care among discordant couples.
What areas of HIV and NCD research and/or project management do you think are being neglected?
To me, it seems that there is little understanding on why there are increased cases of reported infertility among HIV patients on ART. To me, it is still a puzzle whether these cases are due to myths, beliefs, experiences or real facts about ART. So there is a need to conduct more research and to publish more in this area that has for long been neglected.
What do you hope to do in your role and as a member of the RESPOND-AFRICA consortium?
I hope to establish and broaden the network of researchers and funders in the areas of HIV and NCDs management and care. This will see more collaborations and publications about HIV and NCD care and treatment in Sub Saharan Africa.
Besides research and randomised control trials, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not engaged in research and grants management work, I’m hanging out with my family, doing online studies about interior designs and offering free counselling services for children and young adults.