On March 12th, Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene hosted its inaugural meeting in Abidjan on the strategic direction of the first nationwide study on the impact of HIV, which has involved more than 20,000 individuals to date.
The study, called the Côte d’Ivoire Population-based HIV Impact Assessment, or CIPHIA, aims to test a nationally representative sample of Ivoirians and then use statistical models to measure the current HIV epidemic in Côte d’Ivoire. The CIPHIA is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. Côte d’Ivoire is one of the up to 13 countries poised to achieve HIV/AIDS epidemic control by 2020 under a recent PEPFAR acceleration strategy.
The CIPHIA Steering Committee meeting provided strategic direction and oversight of the study, which began in August 2017. About 11,000 households have participated thus far and provided blood samples. Preliminary results of the CIPHIA are expected by December 2018.
“These assessments are complex undertakings, and I applaud the high-level commitment and engagement of so many important stakeholders,” said U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Katherine Brucker.
Representatives from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attended the meeting at the invitation of Minister of Health and Public Hygiene Dr. Raymonde Goudou-Coffie, who leads the committee and was represented at the meeting by his Chief of Staff.
At the meeting, CDC Country Director Dr. G. Laïssa Ouedraogo explained that, when completed, CIPHIA will help Cote d’Ivoire better target its HIV prevention and treatment efforts. She also commended the Ministry for its leadership and expertise.
Representatives from the National Institute of Statistics and the World Health Organization also provided opening remarks at the meeting.
Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have completed similar PEPFAR-supported Population-Based HIV Impact Assessments in the past 18 months. The CDC and other stakeholders, including ICAP at Columbia University, are also assisting governments with these studies.
“The United States and Côte d’Ivoire have a long-standing partnership on public health that goes back more than 30 years” said Chargé d’Affaires Brucker. “We know good data are essential to achieving HIV/AIDS epidemic control, so I am encouraged by these productive discussions on how CIPHIA results can be useful.”