Friday Newsletter
View this email in your browser
Dear Centre Leaders,
In today's newsletter:
  • Endowment Fund flier for sharing with stakeholders
  • Dr. Muluemebet Abera joins INDEPTH Board
  • Cardiometabolic risk in a population of older adults in South Africa
  • INDEPTH welcomes new site leader
  • Unlocking community capability through promotion of self-help for health
1. INDEPTH Endowment Fund
As you are aware, INDEPTH is seeking funds to endow its Resource & Training Centre and finance its Scientific, Capacity Strengthening, Policy Engagement and Management Activities. Currently, the Resource & Training Centre's budget is funded by multi-year grants of core support provided by foundations. As a result, a large part of the effort of the Resource & Training Centre must focus on ensuring continued core support of its efforts – rather than focusing on identifying and funding specific projects in health and demography. 
The proceeds from the endowment will be used to fund the operations of the Resource & Training Centre and the Network, specifically:
  •  Ensuring excellence in the scientific activities of the Network, particularly the efforts of Working Groups in developing critical research studies;
  • Managing the capacity strengthening and training efforts of the Network;
  • Coordinating the Annual General Meeting of the network and  biennial  INDEPTH Scientific Conference ; and
  • Translating the results of INDEPTH research into recommendations for improving policy and practice across the global South. 
We have developed a flier for the Fund. INDEPTH Endowment Fund. We appeal to you to support this effort by circulating the flier widely (both soft copy and printed) to your networks be it individuals or institutions. We would be ready to provide more details if required or make a presentation where necessary.
2.  Dr. Muluemebet Abera joins INDEPTH Board
Members of the INDEPTH Board of Trustees have voted to admit Dr. Muluemebet Abera, the Centre Leader for Gilgel Gibe Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), an INDEPTH member centre in Ethiopia, to the Board. The candidature for the Board vacancy included three other centre leaders.
Dr. Muluemebet Abera is an Associate Professor of Reproductive Health in the Department of Population and Family Health at Jimma University in Ethiopia, the parent institution for the HDSS.  She holds a PhD degree in international health from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. Currently she is also working as Dean of Faculty of Public Health. Read more
3. Cardiometabolic risk in a population of older adults with multiple co-morbidities in rural South Africa
Taking tests in HAALSI
A consequence of the widespread uptake of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is that the older South African population will experience an increase in life expectancy, increasing their risk for cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), and its risk factors. The long-term interactions between HIV infection, treatment, and CMD remain to be elucidated in the African population. The HAALSI (Health and Aging in Africa: longitudinal studies of INDEPTH communities) study cohort was established to investigate the impact of these interactions on CMD morbidity and mortality among middle-aged and older adults.
In the study, researchers recruited randomly selected adults aged 40 or older residing in the rural Agincourt sub-district in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. In-person interviews were conducted to collect baseline household and socioeconomic data, self-reported health, anthropometric measures, blood pressure, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), HbA1c, HIV-status, and point-of-care glucose and lipid levels. This cohort is experiencing an increased risk of CMD with age, as expected. Further, it appears that the HIV+ population has many of the chronic CMD risk factors to contend with as well. With the increase in co-morbidities associated with HIV-infection, their longer-term impact on screening, prevention, and treatment of CMD needs to be better understood. Read more
News from Centres
1. Dabat HDSS:
INDEPTH welcomes new site leader
Dr. Kassahun Alemu
Dr. Kassahun Alemu has been appointed Site Leader and Coordinator for Dabat HDSS in Ethiopia. He takes over from Dr. Gashaw Andargie, who has now been appointed as Director of Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, which is the parent institution for the HDSS. Dr. Alemu will be helped by Dr. Mezgebu Yitayal who has been assigned as assistant coordinator.
"I am very grateful to Dr. Andargie for his contribution to the Network during his time as Site Leader. Many congratulations to Gashaw, Kassahun and Mezgebu for your new appointments," said Prof. Osman Sankoh, the INDEPTH Executive Director. Dr. Alemu has over 20 publications in peer reviewed journals.
Other positions held by Dr. Alemu before his new appointment include Assistant Research Coordinator at Dabat Research Centre, Research and Publications Coordinator, and Head Department of Environmental Health, at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar.
2. Chakaria HDSS:
Unlocking community capability through promotion of self-help for health
People’s participation in health, enshrined in the 1978 Alma Ata declaration, seeks to tap into community capability for better health and empowerment. One mechanism to promote participation in health is through participatory action research (PAR) methods. Beginning in 1994, the Bangladeshi research organisation ICDDR,B implemented a project “self-help for health,” to work with existing rural self-help organisations (SHOs). SHOs are organisations formed by villagers for their well-being through their own initiatives without external material help.
Following a self-help conceptual framework and PAR, the project focused on building the capacity of SHOs and their members through training on organisational issues, imparting health literacy, and supporting participatory planning and monitoring. Villagers and members of the SHOs actively participated in the self-help activities. SHO functionality increased in the intervention area, in terms of improved organisational processes and planned health activities. Conclusion: Building community capability by working with pre-existing SHOs, encouraging them to place health on their agendas, strengthening their functioning and implementation of health activities led to sustained improvements in utilisation of services for over 20 years. Key elements underpinning success include efforts to build and maintain trust, ensuring social inclusion in project activities, and balancing demands for material resources with flexibility to be responsive to community needs. Read more
Policy Engagement and Communications