SUUBI+ Adherence Project

Reach the Youth Uganda

Suubi+Adherence Study is a 5 year research project that started in 2014 and is implemented in the Greater Masaka region comprising of Masaka, Rakai, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Lyantonde and Kalungu districts, a region known to be the epicenter of HIV and AIDS. The Adherence study is being implemented in partnership with 39 (20 treatments and 19 controls) public and private health facilities and a total of 702 study participants living with HIV, aware of their status, and on ART treatment are involved. Suubi+Adherence are informed by an efficacious economic empowerment intervention previously tested in Rakai and Masaka among children affected by AIDS. The aims of the study are; to Provide support for adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and Promote income-generating activities for poor HIV+ adolescents and their families so that there is sufficient income to meet the specific needs associated with managing HIV as a chronic illness (e.g. having sufficient nutritional resources, and funds to cover costs associated with medical care, such as transportation, and medication).

The study has two intervention components namely training study participants in Income Generating activities (IGAs) and supporting study participants to open bank accounts, encourage them to make monthly savings and ICHAD matching their savings on monthly basis for a period of two years. The banking and matching components are implemented in partnerships with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) and Centenary banks; and Kakuuto micro finance where study participants were supported with initial capital to open bank accounts. Every child who saves money following the match cap, the project matches it with project funds in the ratio of 1:1. The money can be used for three purposes a) economic empowerment ( start or expand a family based IGA owned by the study participant); b) Education (buy school requirements or pay fees,) and c) health purposes ( meet medical expenses including drugs not offered at health centres during routine visits for ARV refills and checkups and transport to health centres) among others.

Reach The Youth Uganda (RTY) is the main implementing partner of the IGA training component. Other partners are Masaka Catholic Diocese and Rakai Health Services Programme (RHSP). This component is implemented with support of government extension workers (Agriculture and animal husbandry). As part of the intervention, the project trains study participants and their caregivers to spur, study participants with support of the families, to start family based IGAs that will eventually generate income so as to enable them eke a living while saving some of the proceeds from IGAs in their bank accounts

Overall goal of the project

To examine the impact and cost associated with an innovative intervention to increase adherence to HIV treatment for HIV+ adolescents here after referred to as Suubi+Adherence.

Suubi+Adherence is informed by an efficacious economic empowerment intervention previously tested in Rakai and Masaka among children affected by AIDS.

The specific aims of the study

  1. Provide support for adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)
  2. Promote income-generating activities for poor HIV+ adolescents and their families so that there is sufficient income to meet the specific needs associated with managing HIV as a chronic illness (e.g. having sufficient nutritional resources, and funds to cover costs associated with medical care, such as transportation, and medication).