Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
International Research Scholar Award
Using mHealth to improve early infant HIV diagnosis in rural Africa
Given the challenges of early infant diagnosis in rural sub-Saharan Africa and the potential long turnaround time for returning results to the clinic and the caregiver, the objective of this proposal is to assess the acceptability and feasibility of using mobile technology to contact caregivers when test results are returned to the clinic. This prospective study will be conducted in Macha Mission Hospital located in rural Zambia and will be nested within an ongoing validity study of the ultrasensitive p24 assay for early infant diagnosis in a rural setting (PI: Dr. William Moss; Funding Agency: CDC; IRB no: 00004048). For a period of twelve months, all children (approximately 360) under the age of 18 months who come to the Macha HIV or under-five clinics for confirmation of HIV infection will be eligible for the study. Infants of caregivers who provide written informed consent will be enrolled into the study. The study will consist of one study visit, where a blood sample will be obtained for the parent study and caregivers will be administered a short questionnaire to collect information on demographics, transportation, barriers to care, possession and use of cellular phones, sharing phones with other family members and the issue of privacy, the acceptability of receiving a call or SMS from the HIV clinic, the need to provide talk time and their access to the rural health clinics. If they are willing, caregivers will be requested to provide their cellular phone numbers. Study staff will track HIV DNA test results returning from Lusaka and caregivers will be contacted by phone/SMS when they are available.