There are many ways that the UAB community is united in the mission to defeat COVID-19 from frontline healthcare work to contact tracing, research and more. Read on to see how various members of the Sparkman Scholar network have advised in their home countries regarding the novel coronavirus.
November & December 2020 updates
“Quality Improvement in Nursing and Midwifery Educational Programs” is a new asynchronous distance-accessible course available at no cost to nurse and midwife educators in Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Developed with partnering institutions from the US, Jamaica, and Chile, this course is offered in both English and Spanish. It is built around the WHO nurse and midwife educator core competencies, and is consistent with recommendations for open-access, web-based faculty development programs that promote life-long learning. The course consists of three sequential modules:
- key principles of teaching and learning;
- instructional strategies
- methods to evaluate students and courses
The course was officially launched on November 5, 2020 in a joint PAHO and UAB SON event titled, "Quality Improvement in Nursing Education: Future perspectives in the post-pandemic era". This virtual event included panelists from the US and Latin America and showcased how schools of medicine and nursing are responding to the new realities of providing quality education for healthcare students and professionals. Topics included clinical simulation, web-based classes, and new technologies. The event was live-streamed in English and Spanish and was attended by almost 1,000 participants representing 35 different countries, primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean region. Plans are under way to follow-up with a series of webinars and courses.
Dr. Turan and the Jamii Bora team are also preparing supplemental data collection to the NIH-funded project “Testing Strategies for Couples Engagement in PMTCT and Family Health in Kenya,” in which the team conducts a three-arm (home visit, HIV self-test kits, or the standard care) couple-randomized controlled trial among 1080 pregnant women and their primary male partners. In this study, the team proposes to conduct a standard of care health facility assessment with two goals: 1) to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on standard care related to HIV testing and counselling services for pregnant women and male partners, and compare this to service provision in the pre-COVID-19 period; and 2) to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HIV research teams and studies, as well as study participants in rural Kenya.
Finally, Dr. Turan collaborated with colleagues in stigma research to develop a COVID stigma survey administed through text messages in both Ghana and Zambia. The researchers flexed their skills in brevity as the use of SMS for the survey restriced them to 20 questions total with each question maxing out at 165 characters. We will update further when the results are published.
Dr. Hel also published two articles in the #1 online magazine in the Czech Republic addressing the COVID-19 crisis in his home country and Slovakia. Over 700,000 people so far have read these articles across several countries
The Division of Neonatology has two major ongoing activities in Zambia. UAB and University of Zambia/University Teaching Hospital lead one of the eight sites of the NIH-funded Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research. A serologic study of COVID-19 is being conducted in pregnant women to determine prior infection. In addition, embedded in a trial of intrapartum azithromycin trial to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality led by Drs. Alan Tita (ObGyn) and Wally Carlo and Elwyn Chomba (Pediatrics), we test if signs and symptoms of COVID-19 women and their newborn infants differ following intrapartum administration of azithromycin in asymptomatic women.
Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia
As part of the UAB collaboration with the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), Dr. Albert Manasyan (Pediatrics), head of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health at CIDRZ lives permanently in Zambia where he leads multiple studies. Following the confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in Zambia, Dr. Manasyan began initiatives in supporting the Zambian frontline workers. He raised $40,598 USD through generous support from UAB and crowdfunding to make 46,430 face shields and 60,000 reusable 2-ply cotton face masks to address PPE shortages in Zambia and support the Ministry of Health throughout all the 10 provinces of Zambia. Furthermore, to support the families most affected by COVID-19, Dr. Manasyan set up a food bank (Lusaka Food Bank) and provided food baskets to 543 families.
During the second wave of COVID-19 in Armenia, which was exacerbated due to the war which began on September 27th, Dr Manasyan was asked by the Ministry of Health of Armenia to join their COVID-19 task force and assist the team with the development and revision of testing guidelines incorporating Ag into the existing PCR algorithm; patient treatment and monitoring guidelines for those to be treated at home, and revision of contact tracing guidelines. Dr Manasyan sought the assistance of Dr Jodie A. Dionne-Odom, Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases at UAB for the revision of testing and treatment guidelines.