The Department has an active research record with over 78 publications in peer reviewed journals since 2012. In addition two staff members have recently completed their PhD’s and another three staff members are currently engaged in PhD study. The department is actively involved in supporting research in a wide variety of primary care settings.
Researcher: Dr Adeyemi Benjamin Olamide
Designation: Department of Family Medicine academic
Study: Acute Mortality Outcome and Profile of Patients Diagnosed with Cryptococcus Meningitis in a District Hospital in Pietermaritzburg
Summary: The study aimed to improve the management of patients admitted with cryptococcal meningitis by identifying gaps in routine care and making recommendations based on its findings. Cryptococcal meningitis is a life threatening condition usually seen in patients with advanced HIV. The study also examined the burden of the illness in terms of the demography of the patients and deaths resulting from it.
Researcher: Dr Cheryl Baxter
Designation: CAPRISA's HIV Prevention researcher
Study: Impact of intermittent tenofovir 1% gel on hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection
Summary: The study found that Tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug used daily by millions for AIDS treatment and also to prevent new HIV infections, is safe for use by women infected with hepatitis B virus. The study - conducted among 889 women using intermittent tenofovir 1% gel for HIV prevention - found no association with hepatic flares, no effect on hepatitis B viral (HBV) load and no enhancement of the development of tenofovir resistance genetic mutations. Based on the study findings, women with HBV infection can safely use tenofovir 1% gel for HIV prevention without adverse impact on their HBV infection.
Researcher: Dr Nnaemeka Uzodike
Designation: medical officer at Ngwelezane Hospital.
Study: Adherence to national HIV guidelines by a primary health care clinic in Kwazulu-Natal
Summary: The research highlighted the dangers of treatment failure in patients on anti-retroviral therapy being monitored by Primary health care clinics.
The research was a review of clinical records to assess how well nursing staff working in a primary health care clinic were adhering to guidelines put in place for monitoring patients on HIV treatment, their ability to detect patients who are not improving on HIV treatment and referring them promptly to designated hospitals for appropriate intervention.
It also assessed the prevalence of patients in the clinic who were already in treatment failure requiring intervention, and the trend over the period of study (one year).
The trend showed that the number of patients developing resistance to HIV treatment was increasing and that a significant number of them were not being detected and referred for intervention.
The study highlighted the problems faced by health workers, from health system (guidelines) being implemented without providing the required capacity, facility and support.