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Health Research Policy and Systems

, 11:40

First Online: 26 October 2013Received: 29 June 2013Accepted: 21 October 2013


BackgroundIn 2011, Malawi initiated an ambitious program for the prevention of maternal to child transmission PMTCT of HIV, called -Option B+,’ which employs a universal test and life-long treatment strategy for all pregnant women. Priority setting should take place in defining a national research agenda for evaluating Option B + rollout in Malawi.

MethodsIn April 2011, a three-day workshop took place for all major stakeholders in PMTCT aiming to provide an update on current PMTCT operational research in Malawi, find consensus on key questions not yet being addressed, identify opportunities for collaboration, and develop multi-partner research proposals.

ResultsOverall, 24 participants attended the workshop including representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Commission and 12 multilateral, non-governmental organizations and academic partners.

Three interrelated clusters emerged as priorities for research: i pregnancy intentions and family planning needs; ii evaluation of models of care; and iii determinants of uptake, adherence, and retention of women for Option B+. In addition, two cross-cutting themes arose: partner involvement in PMTCT services and cost-effectiveness as a guide to priority setting.

Within each cluster a coordinator was designated and a proposed plan for research and potential collaborators were discussed. The results of the workshop were presented to the national technical working groups and the National AIDS Commission. Several large-scale, collaborative proposals have been developed and funded to address the research areas defined.

ConclusionsOption B + represents a significant change in PMTCT policy in Malawi and the process for evaluation of the Malawi PMTCT strategy is outlined. This workshop contributed to defining and coordinating the national agenda for research priorities.

KeywordsMalawi National agenda PMTCT Option B+ Research priorities AbbreviationsARTAntiretroviral therapy

MoHMinistry of Health

PMTCTPreventing mother to child transmission

UNAIDSJoint United Nations Programme on HIV-AIDS NGO: Non governmental organization.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1478-4505-11-40 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Megan Landes - Monique van Lettow - Fabian Cataldo - Adrienne K Chan - Beth Tippett Barr - Anthony D Harries - Richard 


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