Mmegi Online :: Research vital in health system- El-Halabi
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Last Updated
Wednesday 22 May 2019, 19:50 pm.
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Research vital in health system- El-Halabi

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) has vowed to strengthen the public health system by integrating research, laboratory testing and surveillance activities to ensure effective responses to infectious and non-communicable diseases.
By Pini Bothoko Fri 15 Sep 2017, 13:37 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Research vital in health system- El-Halabi








The Ministry’s permanent secretary Shenaaz El-Halabi revealed this during a media roundtable that was held at the United States (US) Ambassador’s residence on Wednesday.

She disclosed that the Ministry has achieved a lot for the past 23 years in their partnership with the US government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) towards the advancement of research capacity in their health facilities.

El-Halabi said through the funds from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), they achieved a lot under infrastructure development, giving an example of the national public health laboratory constructed in Francistown.

She said that construction of the facility showcased the shared commitment of the governments of the US and Botswana to advancing public health by recognising past and current successes in public health research and opportunities for future partnerships.

El-Halabi said through research, health professionals are able to get accurate and reliable information about the health of patients through advanced laboratory capacity.

She said that the labs are newly constructed and the buildings in Francistown and Gaborone contain office and laboratory space, equipment, furniture and supplies that can be used for research and clinical purposes.

She said that the Ministry has achieved a lot through research, and the information that was collected has been used to inform policies, contributed a lot to the global knowledge on health and improved health outcomes.

She said that the findings of the TB prevention was used to design WHO guidelines for using TB skin tests in high burden HIV areas. She stated that CDC’s Prevention of Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) research facilitated development of effective, high quality interventions.

She however stated that despite those achievements the Ministry is

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still faced with challenges and have to do a lot towards having complex health research.

Giving remarks, Dr William Levine of CDC Atlanta, from the division of global HIV and TB, said over the past 12 years over 120 scientific protocols have been developed by the CDC division of global HIV and TB in partnership with the MoHW and other partners. He said these have spanned a broad array of HIV and TB related topics.

He said researches were carried out and such operational research studies included a substantial body of work on PMTCT, including provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling in antenatal care, research on early infant diagnosis of HIV and studies of infant feeding and pediatric nutrition.

Levine revealed to have worked closely with health ministry on a series of studies focusing on HIV prevention and treatment amongst the youth, including a study of antiretroviral drug adherence in adolescents and an ongoing study and project on adult identity mentoring.

He said that through research they have carried out studies of male circumcision to prevent HIV infection, studies on cervical cancer screening, evaluation of HPV vaccine implementation to mention but a few.

Sharing the same sentiments, the Epidemiology branch chief, under the division of HIV/AIDS prevention for CDC Atlanta, Dr Taraz Samandari said through their collaboration with the health ministry, they have over the years conducted research both in TB and HIV, which had a major impact advancing the control of both diseases.

He said the study found a 43% reduction in TB among recipients of 36 month IPT and a 74% reduction in participants with a baseline positive tuberculin skin test.

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