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: Marie Claire Van Hout
Role in INTE-AFRICA: Member of the MOCCA, INTE-AFRICA and INTE-COMM teams
Where they are based: Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Past role/job: Professor of International Public Health Policy and Practice
Who are you?
I am a Professor of International Public Health Policy and Practice at the Public Health Institute, Faculty of Health, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. I am also Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the Faculty of Health.
How has your journey helped you lead to this point in your career?
My work has always been human rights focused, in terms of advocacy for the respect of the right to health, and improving the health outcomes of marginalised and hidden populations in developing countries.
How did you initially get involved in research?
I joined the group as lead on process evaluation and social sciences for the project INTE-AFRICA and since then I have been working with teams in Uganda and Tanzania to support them in data collection and publications.
During COVID-19 we are in danger of seeing the HIV and NCD gains dilute as governments are increasingly stretched and there are fewer resources available for chronic disease and multi-morbidity
How has the field of integrated care, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, been changing?
I think in the time I have been involved, which is since 2018, the governments appear to be more supportive of integrated care models, as more data becomes available from the RESPOND-AFRICA studies to help inform policy level decisions.
What areas of HIV and NCD research and/or project management do you think are being neglected?
I think now during COVID-19 we are in danger of seeing the HIV and NCD gains dilute as governments are increasingly stretched and there are fewer resources available for chronic disease and multi-morbidity as budgets are focused on tackling COVID and scaling up vaccinations.
What do you hope to do in your role and as a member of the RESPOND-AFRICA consortium?
I hope to continue to use my qualitative work to help inform new trials, support the inclusion of the very vulnerable and see real world change in African health policy and system configurations.
Besides research and randomised control trials, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a qualitative researcher, and I enjoy listening to peoples insights and stories, breathing life into the clinical trial data and operations.