ICHAD partners with Uganda Ministry of Health to Enhance Support Systems for youth living with HIV/AIDS

Fred Ssewamala

The Bridges2Scale study team, led by Principal Investigators Drs. Fred Ssewamala, Byron Powell, and Noeline Nakasujja, recently convened with over 100 community stakeholders at the International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD) offices in Masaka, Uganda. This gathering, comprising youth, caregivers, teachers, bankers, NGO representatives, and study personnel, engaged in focus group discussions to explore experiences and challenges related to the Bridges intervention. The dialogue aimed to uncover actionable insights for enhancing the study’s implementation and sustainability.

The training sessions covered various aspects including understanding HIV/AIDS and its impact on young people, caregiving techniques, and addressing common psychosocial challenges. The training utilized diverse methods such as group discussions, role-plays, and lectures to impart knowledge and skills effectively.

Significant strategies emerged from these discussions, including task-shifting, peer engagement, saving reminders, and improved communication with participants. These insights are poised to guide the upcoming implementation mapping exercise, marking a pivotal step forward for the Bridges2Scale study.

Working with youth to increase understanding about HIV and how stigma can undermine the wellbeing of youth living with HIV is an essential element to our work in the Suubi+Adherence4Youth study. These young people bring their unique perspective and so much promise to our efforts to combat HIV stigma and other barriers to treatment and engagement in care.”

Dr. Fred Ssewamala