Confronting Inequities in STI Prevention, Diagnostics and Care

Breakfast Session II

Improving the effectiveness of HIV/STI prevention and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa through Program Science

Wednesday September 7th 2022, 12:00 – 13:30
Venue: Kalundu Conference Room

In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals’ commitment to leaving no one behind, meaningfully working toward optimizing the management of sexual health outcomes, including HIV/STI prevention and treatment, requires the development of strategies to identify and prioritize equitable, effective coverage of relevant health services to systemically disadvantaged groups.

Programs require context-specific evidence and knowledge, generated on an on-going basis to allow for timely and appropriate decision-making around program adjustments and adaptations that respond to changes in monitored indicators and outcomes. We are interested in improving the quality, effectiveness, and sustainability of HIV and STI prevention, testing, and care through Program Science, an approach to improving the design and implementation of public health programs through the systematic application of theoretical and empirical scientific knowledge. Program Science is a framework for both program implementation and research, defined by an iterative process whereby empirical and situated knowledge derived from programs drives scientific inquiry, which then produces further evidence that is incorporated into programming for service optimization and population-level impact. Program Science actively seeks to bridge gaps between research and program implementation agendas and processes and is inherently equity-focused. It is concerned with prioritizing populations who will benefit most from program activities and services and allocating resources such that program activities are accommodating the needs of “priority” populations.

Through this symposium, we will focus on the elaboration and application of the “Program Science” approach and introduce an Effective Coverage Cascade framework for public health programs that focuses on developing a research agenda to identify, quantify, examine, and address gaps in health service coverage through an equity lens. Concrete examples from three geographical, epidemiological and socio-cultural contexts will highlight how embedded science can been used to inform HIV and STI programs and optimize population-level outcomes.

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