In the second last week of November, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) welcomed the Ugandan Country Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Lisa Nelson to the West Nile region where IDI is currently implementing the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS service delivery project, which also covers South Sudan refugees and a One-Health Global Health Security Project (GHSP). IDI is currently operating in eight districts namely: Arua, Moyo, Maracha, Yumbe, Adjumani, Koboko, Nebbi and Zombo. Dr. Nelson was accompanied by Dr. Jaco Homsywho is the Director of DGHP in Uganda as well as other technical leads.
The team visited IDI supported sites in both Arua and Yumbe districts to include the Arua Regional Referral Hospital’s HIV clinic and laboratory which houses high tech equipment to detect and monitor acute febrile illness, as well as the Arua prisons Health Center III and Adumi Health Center IV where Dr Nelson and CDC technical leads performed a Site Improvement Monitoring Systems exercise. The team also toured the Uganda Virus Research Institute’s Plague lab to gain insight on the lab’s role in epidemiological surveillance, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of plague, as well as, plague ecological, intervention research studies and the role of communities and traditional healers that have resulted in the elimination of plague in Arua.
At the Arua Regional Referral laboratory, the CDC Country Director met with the District Veterinary Officer (DVO), toured the new veterinary lab constructed by the district and listened to a presentation focusing on drills that have been conducted to integrate sample transportation of veterinary samples to the existing PEPFAR supported hub system to strengthen One Health investments in concert with DGHP/DGHT West Nile activities.
In Yumbe district, the CDC Country Director visited the offices of the District Health Officer and the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement to gain insight into the needs and impact of South Sudanese People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) on the local health and social services. In addition, this visit was geared towards exploring future partnerships as IDI with support from CDC expands into providing HIV services to the large refugee communities in the region and through the GHSP builds capacity for early detection and response to disease outbreaks.
While at Bidi Bidi settlement, the team visited two health facilities located in zone 1 of the settlement – Yoyo Health Centre III which is supported by Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) in collaboration with The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MoH). The team also visited a temporarily created Jomborogo Health Centre III. At both sites, the team toured various wards to include the maternity and pediatric ward, ART clinic, laboratory, and record keeping rooms, to mention but a few.
At the end of her visit, the CDC Director and her team together with IDI, explored ways of leveraging existing investments in HIV-TB, DGHP, NCZEID, PMI programs using One CDC, One Health and One IDI approach. Quarterly data was presented by the IDI HIV/AIDS team and in-put by Dr. Nelson was provided in cases where meeting targets may be difficult.