PhD Research

PhD Research


Four PhD research projects were supported under the HIV/Policy Action programme

  1.  Interagency coordination of HIV prevention in Uganda Justus Rugambwa, Makerere University, Uganda


It has been suggested that inter-agency coordination facilitates communication and relationships that smoothen agency interdependency through leveraging funding, expertise, networks and capabilities and synergistically contributing to the achievement of multiple strategic goals. Despite over a decade of intense marketing and spending a lot of resources, support and political commitment to inter-agency coordination mechanism, rates of new HIV infections in Uganda remain higher than most comparable high prevalence countries in Africa.  Persisting issues of continued agency effort fragmentation and wasteful duplication suggest extensive coordination challenges.  Such issues cited mostly in development practitioner project reports, however, remain scattered, often lack depth, scientific rigour and are always narrowly single project focussed.  

This interrogation of the systems and processes that characterise Uganda’s inter-agency coordination structures aims at finding out whether or not HIV/AIDS coordination has affected achievement of HIV prevention outcomes in Uganda. Specifically, the study takes a threefold approach; assesses the nature of inter-agency HIV/AIDS coordination, analyses how the effects of inter-agency HIV/AIDS coordination are related to interdependency among agencies involved in HIV prevention in Uganda; and whether interdependency among agencies involved in HIV prevention has affected HIV prevention outcomes in Uganda.

Data will be got from members representing HIV/AIDS agencies involved in joint coordination at an urban AIDS committee, rural AIDS committee and national level AIDS partnership committee as well as Key Informants by means of an interview guide and a semi-structured questionnaire. The analysis and presentation of the results will involve use of software computer packages like Nvivo and UCINET/Netdraw.

  1. Beyond ART ‘victory’ in Khayelitsha and Lusikisiki: bottom-up policy advocacy by HIV+ activists between 2004-2014 in South Africa Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  1. Do Institutions Matter? Examination of Institutions for Implementing Policies for HIV prevention in Tanzania University of Dar es Salaam

The study researches on the effectiveness of institutions for implementation of HIV policies in Tanzania. The motivation for this research is derived from the fact that despite the reported higher levels of HIV prevention policy implementation in Tanzania, there is huge regional heterogeneity in adult HIV prevalence in the country ranging from 1.5% to 14.8% implying that the implemented HIV prevention services are not equally effective across regions. What’s more, even in cases where HIV reductions have been reported, impressive reductions have occurred in more urban regions than in non-urbanized ones. The question that the study tries to answer is why are the HIV prevention services producing contrasting results across regions in Tanzania? The study holds that variations in HIV results across regions in Tanzania are a function of institutions for implementing HIV policy.

In this study, institutions mean both rules as well as organisations that facilitate coordination for policy implementation. These rules can be formal or informal.  The effectiveness of these institutions is measured by three variables. These include enforceability of the rules, resources at the disposal of the organizations in charge of policy implementation and actors in the organizations.

In terms of its methodology, the study adopts a qualitative emancipatory approach. Data collection was done in three regions of Tanzania namely Njombe, Kagera and Dodoma. Apart from the documentary review, Focus group discussions and interviews were employed in gathering the data for this study.

  1. A mixed methods analysis of the production of stigma in HIV/AIDS communication campaign materials

Tamaryn Nicholson University of KwaZulu-Natal

The stigma and stereotypes branch of the project focuses on how stigma may be produced by HIV/AIDS mass communication materials in South Africa. Guided by the National Strategic Plan (2012-2016) and the National Communications Survey (2012), we have selected a number of campaigns which will be studied for their potential to impact on stigma. This will take place over three stages. Stage 1 focuses on assessing selected campaign materials for their potential to impact stigma – we look at materials like posters and short adverts and grade them on their likelihood for impacting on stigma. In Study 2, we will be holding focus groups to discuss these adverts and posters – we will ask people to comment on the materials and on HIV/AIDS to gain some insight into what these materials ‘do’ with regards to HIV stigma and what they might say about particular groups of people. Finally, in Study 3, we will conduct a short experiment which is aimed to test whether our assumptions about the materials can be measured quantitatively. So, for example, when individuals look at materials that we expect to increase stigma, do their results on a scale that measures stigma increase?