Africa-Based Programs

Over the past 15 years, Global Viral has conducted a range of work in Africa including: research into the interactions between ecology and human health; the promotion of public health; the reduction of disease in Africa; and the provision of training in public health research and practice. Global Viral maintains organization-wide specimen collections and datasets from eight countries in Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe. Global Viral works in close collaboration with Ministries of Health, Defense, Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry and Forestry and Wildlife in countries across the region, and is based out of Yaounde, Cameroon. Global Viral Cameroon was recognized by the Government of Cameroon as an International Association in 2012.

PREDICT - Cameroon

The goal of the PREDICT project in Cameroon was to enhance capacity to prevent and respond to the emergence of infectious diseases in Cameroon through improved surveillance and response at the

human- animal interface. PREDICT-Cameroon was a collaboration between Metabiota and

the Global Viral Cameroon laboratory based at the Cameroon Ministry of Defense’s Army

Health Research Centre in Yaoundé.

 

Hunting of wildlife is an important cultural and economic activity, and pathogens originating from

wildlife have been detected in people who engage in this activity in Cameroon. Understanding the

range of pathogens present in Cameroon's diverse wildlife is key to preventing disease outbreaks

and emergence of new diseases, especially as infrastructure projects expand in previously remote

areas and increase the opportunities for contact between wildlife, domestic animals, and people. 

 

Disease Surveillance 

 

In Cameroon, PREDICT collected samples from over 11,000 animals in areas where there are human- animal interactions that might lead to disease transmission, such as ecotourism, bushmeat markets, areas with hunting, peri-domestic settings, and wildlife sanctuaries.

PREDICT completed over 16,000 diagnostic tests on samples collected from bats, rodents, nonhuman primates, and bushmeat, and detected both known and novel viruses. 

 

Disease Outbreak Response 

 

An outbreak response team was established by the PREDICT Cameroon laboratory. The team is included in the Ministry of Public Health (MINSANTE) outbreak committee and has been deployed regionally.

Deployable equipment for sample collection, processing, and testing has been assembled and stands ready for assistance during an outbreak. 

Predict 2 - Cameroon and Republic of Congo.

Biological and Ecological Risk Characterization

Identify the biological and ecological drivers and host-pathogen dynamics at high-risk interfaces within three critical pathways of disease emergence and spread in Asia and Africa

 

Behavioral Risk Characterization

Characterize contact among people, livestock, and potential wildlifereservoirs; investigate

the correlation of human behavior and zoonoticdisease risk to understand the behavioral

mechanisms of high-risk pathways for disease emergence and spread; identify potential

controlpoints and behavior change options; and field pilot strategies to evaluate behavior

change interventionsthat can be taken to scale.

 

Global Surveillance Networks and Analysis

Strengthen internal data storage and sharing platforms to improve the ease of collection, synthesis, 

storage, access, and dissemination of relevant animal and human, spatially explicit epidemiological

and ecological data.

 

Validation of One Health Approaches

Promoting policies and practices that reduce the risk of virus evolution, spillover, amplification, and spread.

 

Overall Capacity Strengthening

Add depth and scope to transdisciplinary One Health platforms using a systems approach to classify and track biological surveillance and behavioral risk characterization advances, thereby strengthening surveillance system capacities.

 

Assisting Organization of In-country Meetings

In close coordination with other EPT projects and partners (including FAO, CDC, WHO, etc.), organize relevant meetings to optimize and refine ongoing and future activities.

 

Period of Performance 2014 - 2019

Funder USAID

Key Partners: USAID 

CHAMP - Cameroon

The Continuum of Prevention, Care and Treatment (CoPCT) with most-at-risk populations (CHAMP)

project, is a 5-year USAID funded initiative, jointly implemented by CARE Cameroun  and in

collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, Moto Action, Alternative Cameroon, ASAD, Cameroon

Medical Women’s Association, Horizon Femmes, Humanity First Cameroun, CAMNAFAW, SWAA

Littoral and other local associations.

This project aims to reduce HIV/STI infections and related morbidity and mortality on key

populations in Cameroon, and to ease the impact of HIV on socioeconomic development by

improving the government’s and civil society technical capacity to implement evidence-based

prevention, care and treatment services.

 

The research component of this project was entrusted to Johns Hopkins University and Global Viral Cameroon,

in collaboration with Natonal AIDS Control Committee (NACC) 2 rounds of Integrated Biological and Behavioral Survey (IBBS) and 2-year longitudinal study. The results of this study will inform the national indicators on HIV/AIDS in these populations. OBJECTIVES: The objective of the IBBS is to assess knowledge, attitude, behavioral and biological factors associated with HIV and Syphilis infections among FSW(female se workers), MSM(Men who have Sex with Men) and LDTD (Long Distance Truck Drivers), and translate into programmatic interventions and propose policies to reduce disease prevalence and incidence among these key populations. The objective of longitudinal study is to evaluate the impact of CHAMP HIV prevention, care and treatment intervention program among FSW and MSM in CHAMP’s intervention site in Cameroon.

Period of Performance: 2015-2016

Funder: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Key Partners: CARE Cameroon , Johns Hopkins University, University of Yaounde I Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

PMTCT - Cameroon

Cameroon is one of several countries currently benefitting from the US President’s Emergency Plan

for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with the ambitious commitment for an AIDS-free Generation.  One of the

prevention strategies is to avert or “stop” the vertical transmission from mother to child and to ensure

every HIV infected person has access to care and support. In effect, the country joins the international

community to target the achievement of the virtual elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (<5%)

by 2015. PEPFAR – alongside other partners – is providing the necessary financial and technical

support the country requires to meet this objective.

 

The Cameroon Ministry of Defense is on the battle lines contributing to set objectives within all Military Health Facilities, especially those offering PMTCT services. Funded by the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) through Metabiota, Inc.,GV is providing technical assistance to optimize or foster HIV prevention, care and support activities in 28 military facilities, including the following:

 

  • Capacity reinforcement 

  • Clinical Mentorship of service delivery

  • Client follow-up and community linkage to care and support

  • Supportive supervision of facilities and community based structures

  • Monitoring & evaluation of standards of services 

  • Facilitation in supply and management of commodities: condoms, RTKs, antiretroviral drugs, data management tools, etc.

  • Data quality, reporting and administrative systems

  • Community mobilization

 

Global Viral's Lab - Cameroon

GV maintains a Biosafety level (BSL) - 2 research laboratory in Yaoundé, located in Military Health

Research Centre (CRESAR) in a secured military camp. It is currently equipped to safely maintain

large repositories with continuous electricity and cold-chain and the capacity to conduct a variety of

molecular assays, serology, bacteriology, sample storage (Capacity of 200 000 human and animal

samples at –80C). The facility is backed-up with a 2000L water tank, a 250 kwa automatic temperature

monitoring system, and certified biosafety cabinets. GV has had the pleasure of welcoming various

University students from both private and public institutions in Cameroon and abroad.

DHAPP - Chad

The prevention of HIV/AIDS in the military is a critical task, particularly in Central Africa where

multiple factors converge to create a population vulnerable to infectious disease: 1) the instability of

the region, 2) the close contact of military forces and civilian populations, and 3), the contribution

to international peacekeeping missions by regional armed forces. Over the past thirteen years,

Metabiota and its partner Global Viral (GV) have been providing technical assistance to central

Africa militaries to implement HIV prevention and surveillance activities with funding from the US

Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).

 

Assessing HIV knowledge and risk behaviors as well as monitoring the trend of HIV prevalence in the

military constitute a critical aspect in HIV prevention in this target population in sub-Saharan Africa. The

2009 study conducted in Chad with support from DHAPP revealed an average HIV prevalence of 9.3% and only covered the troops stationed in the localities of Moundou and Doba-Komé in the south of the country. Following sensitization and advocacy to the high command conducted by DHAPP and Metabiota-Global Viral on the importance to understand the global picture of the infection among the military as well as risk behaviors for better planning of future interventions, a nation-wide HIV seroprevalence and behavioral survey (SABERS under HVSI) was conducted in 2014 in the Chad military under DHAPP Grant No.: N00244-09-1-0008.

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Original website design: Yasmine Fruchart, 2015

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