This application is proposing HIV research training for Africa University, Zimbabwe on the scientific topic: Implementation Research on Combination HIV Prevention. With 46,000 new HIV infections acquired in 2011 alone, Zimbabwe still has a high burden of HIV, and has prioritized HIV prevention in its strategic response to the epidemic. Implementation research in combination HIV prevention is a crucial component of such a response, yet the prerequisite skills to conduct it are limited in many institutions in LMIC including Zimbabwe. An institution-wide consultative process was carried out at Africa University (AU) to agree on the scientific topic and to develop the grant application. This application seeks to review the capacity available at AU then define and design a training package required to bring AU to a high and sustainable level of capacity in research and research training in HIV prevention implementation science. It is believed AU requires a training model that will develop HIV research expertise across its various disciplines and departments, to prepare for the multi-disciplinary response required in HIV prevention implementation science. It is envisaged that AU may not have the capacity to provide some of the key skills and training required. Therefore 3 institutions with the desired capacity to meet AU's training needs are partnering with AU in this planning grant. AU's collaborative relationship with its partners will be formalised through appropriate documentation during the early phase of the planning grant. Once the grant is awarded, AU will set up a Project Implementing Committee (PIC) with membership of diverse background to ensure complementary and integrated expertise tasked with the effective implementation of this proposed project. Progress reports are prepared and reviewed and any adverse variations are noted and corrective action taken. The local PD/PI will be supported by her co-PD/PI and the PIC to ensure success of this proposed project. Working with the PIC, a consultant will be contracted to itemise the essential skills needed at AU to effectively conduct HIV prevention implementation research. The results will be compared with the currently available capacity at AU, and appropriate training levels and programs to fill the identified gaps will be determined. The key personnel and the partner sites will then decide on the most appropriate training sites for the different levels of training identified, develop curricula, and other essential components to submit an appropriate proposal in response to the D43 training grant FOA in July 2014.
This application is proposing HIV research training for Africa University, Zimbabwe on the scientific topic: Implementation Research on Combination HIV Prevention. With a prevalence rate of 15%2, an estimated 1.6 million people living with HIV and 46,000 new infections acquired in 20111, it is clear that HIV prevention efforts in Zimbabwe need to be scaled up and directed towards areas of greatest impact. Implementation research and combination HIV prevention will be key in this regard, yet the prerequisite skills are limited giving rise to the need to train young researchers to give them the skills to approach HIV research from multiple perspectives.