03 June 2024

Strengthening capacity in translating evidence to action

The report outlines the progress and achievements in the triple elimination of vertical transmission of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) over the last two decades. With over 2.25 million new infections in children averted since 2010, the region is making significant strides. The regional rate of vertical transmission of HIV has declined from 11 percent in 2015 to 7 percent  in 2022, with 11 ESA countries reaching the global target of 95 percent treatment coverage for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV. The goal of eliminating vertical transmission is within reach, with 17 countries already validated for elimination or on the path to elimination.To support these efforts, UNICEF’s East and Southern Africa Regional Office initiated a data mentorship programme in collaboration with IQVIA and the University of Zambia. The programme aims to strengthen national health management information systems, improve data quality, and build the analytical skills of government staff working towards elimination. It employs a unique partnership model with the private sector, academia, and government officials, focusing on capacity building through virtual and in-person mentoring, online learning platforms, and workshops.The programme has shown early successes, with mentees from various countries implementing operational plans to improve data quality and analysis in their respective countries. Mentees have reported enhanced knowledge, empowerment, and leadership skills, leading to tangible improvements in their work. The programme's collaborative and mentee-centered approach has proven effective, with mentees taking up leadership roles in their countries' Path to Elimination validation processes. The report concludes by highlighting the programme's potential to serve as a blueprint for building data use capacity in other healthcare programmes beyond vertical transmission.For more information, please contact Laurie Gulaid (lgulaid@unicef.org)
31 August 2023

Identifying Drivers and Mitigators of Adolescent HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Risk

This synthesis report reflects a comprehensive review of the body of research undertaken through the Evidence-to-Action partnership. It identifies common themes and new insights to answer the following questions: What common factors were found to put adolescents, including adolescents living with HIV and young mothers, at risk of poor health and well-being outcomes? What interventions – alone and in combination – can be implemented at scale to mitigate risk and improve health and well-being outcomes? What are the cross-cutting implications for policy and practice?   The synthesis considered secondary data analysis from three longitudinal adolescent cohort studies in South Africa and four systematic reviews on adolescents’ adherence to treatment and retention in care, the effects of decentralizing antiretroviral therapy on health outcomes for adolescents, understanding adolescent mental health in the context of HIV and adolescent pregnancy, and the experiences of adolescent mothers and their children. The findings showed that specific risk factors and interventions – alone or in combination – affected multiple adolescent development outcomes. The recommendations make a strong case for consistently providing protective packages of multisector interventions that have a direct effect on improving outcomes for adolescents across mental and physical health, education and violence prevention. When delivered in the right combination, these accelerators can have a synergistic, value-added impact on adolescent well-being.