UNIVERSITY OF ABUJA WINS NIH GRANT TO STUDY HYPERTENSION IN HIV
The University of Abuja has won a grant to carry out research on the use of integrated model to manage hypertension among people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Nigeria. The grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
In a letter dated 9th September 2020, the Grants Management Officer, Gayle Jones, charged the researchers to promote objectivity in research by establishing standards which provide reasonable expectation that the design, conduct and reporting of research funded under NIH awards will be free from bias.
Principal Investigator of the research, Dr Dike Ojji, who is of the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Abuja and also a Consultant Physician/Cardiologist University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, said the study sought to develop evidence-based effective, scalable strategies to lower the burden of both non-communicable diseases, such as HTN, and HIV in Nigeria. Ojji added that the study would also examine the effectiveness and processes required to identify and integrate components of task sharing and task shifting (TASSH) within HIV service delivery in primary care to tackle the burden of hypertension in HIV patients.
The project which is billed to last for initial two years and may be extended for another three years based on performance, would be carried out in 30 selected primary health care centres (PHCs) in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Dr Ojji will be working with other scholars and medical scientists from several institutions including University of Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital; New York University, New York, USA; Saint Louis University, Missouri, United States; Family Health International, FHI 360, Durham, USA. Other collaborators include National Agency for the Control of AIDS; Federal Ministry of Health, Akwa Ibom State; Directorate of Nursing; Akwa Ibom State Primary Health Care Agency (AKSPHCA) and Akwa Ibom State Agency for Control of AIDs (AKSACA).
In their proposal, the researchers noted that the need for context specific evidence- based interventions to tackle the rising burden of hypertension in Nigeria has become necessary given that improved access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for people living with HIV in the country has resulted in an increased comorbidity of non-communicable diseases especially hypertension identified as the leading cause of mortality in persons living with HIV in Nigeria.
Nigeria currently has 1.9 million persons living with HIV, according to recent survey and has got the highest number and burden of the disease in Africa.