Pancho Mulongeni, was the first 6 month IAVI Fellow to undertake his IAVI Fellowship at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation from Namibia. He was mentored by Dr. Richard Kaplan. Pancho assisted with statistical analysis and completed a manuscript HIV Prevalence and determinants of lost to follow up in adolescents and young adults with tuberculosis in Cape Town. He was chosen to present at the second AIDS Conference in South Africa and initiated the development of the IAVI Fellowship manual.
Pancho has been accepted to complete his PhD at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He will be looking at data collected in such programmes as adolescents residential life programmes, focusing on what happens to young people who pass through delinquency, drug and alcohol rehab programmes.
‘I realized HIV research is about telling people’s stories, essentially. And then one may ask, but is it not about publishing and progressing in academia? Indeed, that is part of it - and our paper is still pending, but it’s worth remembering that we are dealing with real life people - it's not fiction nor metaphysics – but people whose lives we deem as important.’
Pancho Mulongeni, 2018
Reuben Silungwe, was a 3 month IAVI Fellow from Zambia. He worked on a literature review focused on the barriers of a transitioning HIV-positive paediatric to adult and the facilitators that will help them through this time. He was mentored by Dr. Millicent Atajuna and Tiarney Richwood. Rueben also spent some time with Key Populations Division that impacted his experience greatly.
Since his fellowship Reuben Returned to Zambia, became a Key Correspondent with Positive Vibes from the KP Reach Programme operating in eight SADC countries telling stories using different media of the intersectionality of health, human rights and key populations in Zambia. He has volunteered with Zambia Sex Workers Alliance (ZASWA) and Titandizeni Men's Health Network (Titandizeni) as an M&E officer. He is currently working on establishing an organisation to promote honest and open dialogue between the LGBTIQ communities and the religious, faith leaders and followers. He intends to complete a postgraduate in Public Health with a deliberate focus in key populations and other vulnerable sub-populations.
‘It was a challenging and exciting experience but the support of the different supervisors, mentors and staff was helpful. The exposure to the key populations department was life changing and added value to my work with key populations in Zambia.’
Reuben Silungwe 2018
Yunia Mayaja, joined the Desmond Tutu HIIV Foundation as a 3 month IAVI Fellow in 2016, from Uganda. She worked with her mentor Dr. Rebecca Marcus, on a project relating to viral suppression in Adolescents living with HIV and analysed data to establish factors relating to ART regimen choices. Yunia contributed greatly to the behavioural scientist team, who continued to use the research Yunia contributed to during her time at DTHF, after she had left.
Yunia is now working in a research institute working on HIV Prevention for key populations.
‘I gained knowledge and skills in working with adolescents in research. I found that the strategies used at the DTHF adolescent research clinic help improve retention in this age group i.e. partitioning the research clinic into spaces that handle research clinic visits, entertainment (sports, music, drama and indoor games) and education (library, computer lab, space to do their homework). Study staff had good skills, they were not necessarily young but worked well with the adolescents.’
Yunia Mayaja 2018
Lydia Atambo, was 3 month IAVI Fellow from Kenya. She joined Dr. Millicent Atajuna and assisted with qualitative data for HIV-R4P and guidance on how to write an abstract. She also assisted Keren Middelkoop with a TB study at the Emavundleni Clinic. The TB study was "A Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Partially Blinded Phase II Study to Evaluate Safety, Immunogenicity, and Prevention of Infection with Mycobacterium Tuberculosis of AERAS-404 and BCG Revaccination in Healthy Adolescents". Lydia was involved in data extraction and analysis.
Tapiwa was a 3 month IAVI Fellow from Malawi. Tapiwa's task was to assist her mentor, Laura Myers, with a study called 'Girl Power- Evaluating a Combination HIV Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health Package for at risk Young Women". She worked with the Study Coordinator and Manager creating training for all staff. She helped with recruitment and attended weekly, bi-weekly and monthly meetings and seminars. Tapiwa also helped with the data analysis for another study called, "Preparing for new biomedical HIV prevention technology implementation in South Africa: Investigation of target user group preferences and industry-recommended promotion strategies".