Congratulations go to LSTM International Public Health PHD student, Hellen Barsosio, who has been given the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s, Young Investigators Award. The award recognises the work of young investigators and encourages developing scientists to pursue careers in various aspects of tropical disease research.
Hellen presented at the general meeting, where she received the award, on the feasibility of implementing monthly dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) for prevention of malaria in pregnancy, in routine health care settings in western Kenya: pragmatic cluster randomised trial. Hellen suggested alternatives to the current treatment - monthly Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) treatment - which is threatened by high-grade parasite resistance.
DP is the most promising alternative regimen to replace or be co-administered with SP. DP is a multi-day regimen, compared to a simpler single-day SP regimen, where all doses are taken in a clinic under direct observation of a health provider. Previous studies found DP might be too complex to give in routine settings; health providers weren’t confident women could adhere to a multi-day regimen if self-administered at home.
Hellen’s team investigated whether health providers could deliver this multi-day regimen (DP) in routine settings and if women can adhere to their drugs, especially self-administered doses taken at home, without directly observed therapy from nurses. They used a package of education and information-education-communication materials called ‘targeted information transfer’ to support women and health providers in remembering drug doses and addressing side effect concerns. This approach is novel, in that it is the first pragmatic cluster randomised trial that examines the feasibility of implementing monthly DP for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy, in routine healthcare settings.