Many challenges remain concerning the HIV epidemic in Tanzania. There is a clear need of improvement of human and physical infrastructure to allow for better quality patient care, as well as evidence based strategies tailored to the local priorities.
The Chronic Diseases Clinic Ifakara (CDCI) aims to
- (i) implement care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients according to the Tanzanian national AIDS control programme;
- (ii) strengthen the infrastructure and training of the Tanzanian staff;
- (iii) develop a sound research agenda tackling the most relevant aspects of HIV medicine in rural Tanzania;
- (iv) share the generated knowledge with other health care facilities at the district, national, and international level.
The CDCI is integrated in the St. Francis Referral Hospital (SFRH) at Ifakara in Southern Tanzania. In cooperation with SFRH and the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), the SwissTPH and the Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology of the University Hospital of Basel and Bern/Switzerland run the Kilombero and Ulanga Antiretroviral Cohort (KIULARCO). This cohort comprises almost 6000 patients under follow-up since 2004, and is associated with a plasma repository.
We expect to develop a sound research agenda linked to the KIULARCO cohort, focusing on the following areas to be implemented during the following three years: opportunistic infections, adherence to antiretroviral therapy, liver outcomes, AIDS-related malignancies, prevention of mother to child transmission, and operational research to deliver quality HIV care in rural Tanzania. These studies will provide the basis for the capacity building of local health staff, and will vertebrate the consolidation of the infrastructure, and improvement of HIV care delivered at the CDCI.