Haitian institution to receive grant to support elimination of communicable diseases

Grant will be awarded to Haiti as part of a research initiative of PAHO and TDR.
Grant will be awarded to Haiti as part of a research initiative of PAHO and TDR.

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) says six institutions from Haiti, Argentina, Brazil, México and Perú will receive research grants for topics related to Tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections in advanced HIV, sexually transmitted infections and Human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1), which may cause a type of cancer.

The Washington, D.C.-based PAHO said on Tuesday Zanmi Lasante, Haiti will receive the grant to assess “the feasibility of using community health workers (CHWs) to conduct contact tracing through home testing for sexually transmitted infections.” 

PAHO said these grants, of around US$30,000, are provided as part of the “Operational research to support the elimination of communicable diseases in the Latin American and Caribbean region” initiative, of PAHO and TDR [the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases of UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO)].

“Operations research is key to generate evidence and information that allows progress towards the elimination of diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Dr. Massimo Ghidinelli, interim director of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health at PAHO. “Grants for these investigations will expand our knowledge and strengthen public health response.” 

“We are very pleased to see these very promising projects being identified. We are confident that working with PAHO and the grantees we will have results from this work to support the elimination initiative in the Latin America and Caribbean Region”, said Dr. Garry Aslanyan, manager of Partnerships and Governance at TDR. 

PAHO said that around 2.5 million people live with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

It is estimated that, in the region, 291,000 people contracted tuberculosis in 2020, 10 percent of whom were living with HIV, according to PAHO. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which are easily curable, affect about 38 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 in the region, according to the latest WHO estimates. 

Meanwhile, it is estimated that between 5 and 10 million people are infected with HTLV-1 worldwide, PAHO said. 

PAHO said these grants may be used to cover research time, data collection and analysis, and other related activities. 

The teams responsible for the projects selected will develop, in coordination with PAHO and TDR, a protocol to carry out operational research, “which will undergo evaluations by ethics committees at the national and regional levels.”

PAHO said data collection activities will then begin, and that technical assistance will be provided throughout activities “to ensure the production of valid and relevant research results, and to assist in the integration of the results into the program, policy and/or the health system.” 

“It is expected that every recipient will published a peer-reviewed article, as well as a policy brief, to demonstrate how interventions have improved, as part of the disease elimination strategy,” PAHO said.