The Next T

Optimising HIV testing linked care through user-centred design and creative communication
Year: 2016-2019
Where: Tanzania
Project Status:

The Next T project in Tanzania seeks to research and develop new HIV testing services and care models for adolescents using human-centred design

In the multi-year project, M4ID will design and test models for high-quality, acceptable, and accessible HIV testing linked to care services in Tanzania. The project will focus on adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) together with their male partners as well as on adolescent boys and young men (ABYM), especially for vulnerable groups in urban and rural areas.

Ultimately, the project seeks to contribute to the scaling of HIV programmes and in doing so, to support the implementation of a service continuum to reduce morbidity, mortality and onward transmission of HIV.

Identifying barriers and enablers of health-seeking behaviour

In this first research phase of the project, M4ID is partnering with the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Mwanza Center and Jhpiego’s Sauti program. M4ID’s interdisciplinary Next T team brings expertise in human-centred design (HCD), creative communications, HIV programming, and social sciences. The research aims to uncover socio-cultural, individual behavioural, communicative factors as well as systemic barriers that inhibit the use of the current models for HIV testing and its subsequent linkage to care.

During the exploratory phase which follows the research, the M4ID team will focus on identifying opportunities to overcome these barriers and enable  the uptake of HIV testing and care. This will form the basis for developing context-appropriate and user-friendly HIV testing linked to treatment service solutions. The aim is to facilitate new health-seeking behaviours among AGYW and their male partners.

Project update

In preparation for the research, the M4ID team has visited HIV service providers in Dar es Salaam, Shinyanga and Kilimanjaro, and met with HIV implementing agencies, government representatives, researchers, and local organisations to gain an understanding of the HIV landscape.

In January 2018, the Next T project received approval for its research protocol from the Medical Research Coordination Committee and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly & Children internal review board. Since then, the Next T team has conducted interviews and introductory workshops with AGYW, ABYM, older male partners, service providers, and influencers in Temeke district in Dar es Salaam. The research also included exercises in which AGYW photographed their daily lives and then shared  their insights into what is important to them. In early March, the research team is heading to Kyela in Mbeya region for a second round of data collection.

The project team will finalise data collection in both settings in April and then spend May and June synthesizing the information. In selecting the design drivers for next phases, M4ID will closely collaborate with NIMR and Sauti as well as with the project’s advisory board.