CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE M-HIRST PILOT GRANT-IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HIV SERVICE DELIVERY AND PATIENT OUTCOMES

INTRODUCTION

The College of Medicine (CoM) was established in 1991 as a constituent college of the University of Malawi with a mission “to be an academic centre of excellence in the training of doctors and other health professionals in clinical service and medical research, responsive to the health needs of Malawi and its neighbours within the Southern African region”. Since 2015, the National Institutes of Health-Fogarty International Centre in the USA has been funding the CoM and University of North Carolina to establish and roll-out the Malawi HIV Implementation Science Research Training (M-HIRST) Program which aims at building and strengthening local capacity for conducting implementing research studies to generate evidence that accelerates the scale of recommended HIV interventions.

 

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19) pandemic continues to have serious health and other socio-economic consequences. On April 2nd 2020, the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 infection was registered in Malawi. As of 17th May 2020, 70 cases have been identified and 3 people have died.  In response, the Malawi government and other local stakeholders are implementing a combination of measures to curtail the epidemic in Malawi. While well-intentioned, the measures may affect the quality of HIV service delivery and Malawi’s ambitious goal of achieving 95-95-95[1] by the year 2025. The M-HIRST program is seeking applications from academics or research scientists employed at academic and research institutions in Malawi to implement preliminary HIV implementation research studies that generate data on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV service delivery and patient outcomes. The projects should focus on identifying and characterizing barriers against HIV testing, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) initiation, retention in HIV care, clinical or supportive care of People Living with HIV (PLHIV), diagnosis of HIV-related co-morbidities, treatment adherence and achieving virological suppression.

ELIGIBILITY

You can apply for this small grant if you fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Currently enrolled in or completed a health-related postgraduate training program;
  2. Have a supervisor or mentor with strong background in HIV research or service delivery;
  3. Employed in an academic or a research institution in Malawi;
  4. Have strong linkages with public institutions or non-governmental institutions which have a track history of delivering HIV services.

Applicants with a history of prior HIV-related publications will have an added advantage.

BUDGET

The maximum budget for each application should be US$10,000. We aim to award grants to 5-10 successful applicants.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Interested applicants are required to do the following;

  • Download the attached small grants application template to prepare their applications.
  • Seek a letter of support and bio sketch from a senior academic or public health/clinical health practitioner with a track history in HIV-related research who will provide oversight in research implementation
  • Submit their updated bio sketch to the CoM M-HIRST Project Coordinator – (mhirstcoordinator@medcol.mw).  

The deadline for receiving applications will be on Monday, 15th June 2020 at 23:59 hrs. Applicants will be informed about the outcomes of their applications by 30th June 2020. Ideally, data collection for the research project should be completed by 31st March 2021.