Early Career Research
The support for emerging researchers through Flinders University’s Early Career Reseach seed funding will be felt worldwide through Dr Hailay Gesesew’s HIV research study in Ethiopia.
In 2015, with the HIV epidemic continuing untamed in Ethiopia, Dr Hailay Gesesew came to Flinders University to study his PhD and access international expertise to help him devise better plans for improving HIV treatment in his homeland.
Dr Gesesew is now developing his critical work through a $10,000 Early Career Research grant, which is funding a pilot study to establish HIV peer educators in Ethiopia.
HIV remains a significant public health problem in Africa. While almost 1.2% of northern Ethiopia’s Tigray population was diagnosed with HIV in 2018, the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target set in 2014, to diagnose 90% of people living with HIV, has not been achieved.
Dr Gesesew says better testing solutions are needed.
Early career researcher Dr Hailay Gesesew
‘House-to-house testing is crucial to improving the detection rate of HIV and will also help stimulate treatment uptake, which is currently lagging,’ says Dr Gesesew.
However, his call for swift action has been thwarted by the civil war raging in the Tigray region, a siege on network and banking services, and the impact of COVID-19 in areas with limited resources and fractured organisational support.
‘The situation with HIV is viewed as being of marginal importance in the light of these problems, when in truth it is in need of crucial attention,’ says Dr Gesesew.
Receiving the Impact Seed Funding from the University has proved vital for Dr Gesesew’s research and will enable him to run an HIV pilot survey across seven zones in Tigray.
‘I cannot go home to Ethiopia at the moment, but through this funding I will be able to virtually teach others on the ground how to collect data and get them ready to run the new HIV care model, the teach-test-link-trace program.’
Through this program, peer educators counsel about HIV, perform home-based HIV testing through pinprick testing or OralQuick self-testing, link HIV positive patients to HIV care, and trace lost patients.
‘This pilot program will tell me the true financial implications of how the teach-test-link-trace model can be rolled out for wider use.’
Dr Gesesew believes receiving the Impact Seed Funding underlines the value of his decision to study and develop his research expertise at Flinders University.
‘I’ve been able to advance in ways that I could not in Ethiopia – access to better resources, benefitting from international expertise, and having a platform to elevate the Ethiopian problem to a global audience.’
Dr Gesesew is grateful to those who donate each year to support early career researchers through the Impact Seed Funding grant.
‘The Impact Seed Funding for Early Career Researchers is helping me achieve my critical goal of improving HIV treatment across the world.’
In 2021, nine early career researchers each received Impact Seed Funding of $10,000, helping them to carve their unique research pathways, build international collaborations, and make new discoveries that can change lives throughout our community.
Tax exemption number for charitable donations: 65 542 596 200.
You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed.