Over the past several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our lives and our work. It has affected our day-to-day activities, including efforts to advance many of our projects around the world. Yet, our commitment remains unwavering.
ICAP, along with its project partners, remains fully dedicated to the work we have been doing to support global progress toward HIV epidemic control – including in implementing the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) Project in concert with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and national stakeholders.
As we are facing this new pandemic, learnings from the PHIA Project speak to the importance of using a rigorous, evidence-based approach to understand who is affected, the distribution and burden of disease, and the need for data to inform responses, programs, policies, and practices.
With continual support and guidance from our project partners, CDC, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and national ministries of health, the PHIA Project is taking all precautions necessary to prioritize the health and well-being of our team members and the larger communities we serve.
The PHIA Project team is in close contact with its partners to understand and adapt survey-related work to be consistent with guidelines set by each country. These approaches may change quickly over time, particularly as the pandemic evolves, and the PHIA Project is prepared to respond as necessary.
As of Tuesday, March 28, field data collection has been paused for the three surveys that were collecting data at the household level: Haiti, Malawi and Uganda. The field work for the PHIA survey in Lesotho was completed on March 24, and field work in Zimbabwe was completed on February 29. All post- data collection analytic activities are continuing, although there may be delays in some central laboratory specialty testing.
Survey activities in Eswatini and Mozambique were in the training and pre-implementation phase. The trainings have not yet been held and are paused for the time being.
For now, the highest priority is the safety of the survey populations and the teams involved in survey implementation. Once COVID-19 is vanquished, we remain ready to resume this important work and, in the meantime, to support our in-country partners in mobilizing to control this pandemic.
For the latest news and updates on the status of the PHIA Project, visit https://phia.icap.columbia.edu.
For more information on ICAP’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.icap.columbia.edu.