As I write, our annual clinic on the Meaningful Modelling of Epidemiological Data (MMED) is in progress, so is the 7th SA AIDS conference, and I just returned from a meeting in Geneva how best to provide advice to teams planning to estimate HIV incidence from large household surveys. In short, it seems to be a time to reflect, to reconsider what we are trying to do, and whether we are making any useful contributions. We hope these quarterly epidemiological update offerings are food for thought.
The South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling (SACEMA) invites applications to the fourth annual Clinic on the Meaningful Modelling of Epidemiological Data. This two-week modelling clinic, mounted in collaboration with the International Clinics on Infectious Disease Dynamics and Data (ICI3D) Program, and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), will emphasize the use of data in understanding Read More
In the June 2010 issue of the SACEMA Quarterly, Steve Bellan reported on the 2009 and 2010 Clinics on the Meaningful Modelling of Epidemiological Data (MMED) that were given at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (1). This clinic continues to be given annually and in April 2012 an article has been published in PLOS Read More
SACEMA, in collaboration with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), is holding a modelling clinic from 30 May to 10 June 2011 in Muizenberg, Cape Town. The clinic will emphasize the use of data in understanding infectious disease dynamics and engages the participants in epidemiological modelling projects that use real data to grapple with Read More
At the 3rd Annual Congress of ISPOR South Africa, Wim Delva – senior researcher at SACEMA – gave a presentation on age-targeted early HIV treatment initiation. As reported earlier in the SACEMA Quarterly, universal, immediate antiretroviral treatment (ART) has the potential to reduce HIV incidence dramatically (1). However, this may not be feasible nor affordable Read More
In the last 20 years the number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases had tripled in high HIV prevalence countries, and at least a third of the world’s 33.2 million persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are infected with TB. Approximately 80% of people with TB/HIV infections live in sub-Saharan Africa, where TB is the leading cause Read More
The central theme of this SACEMA Quarterly is the HIV/TB co-epidemic. From 1-4 June 2010 the 2nd TB conference was held in Durban, in which most of the presentations discussed TB in relation to HIV. A SACEMA affiliate presented a study concluding that intensified HIV testing and early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women and men aged 25-40 would optimise the cost-effectiveness of applying the test-and-treat strategy in South Africa, as this would have the largest impact on TB as well. One of the main articles in this Quarterly discusses whether ART will help, and to what extend, in lowering TB incidence. Other articles focus on meaningful statistical modelling in public health, and the Zibambele programme (job creation and poverty alleviation) and it’s role in the battle against HIV/AIDS and TB. Finally, the new director of SACEMA is announced: Dr. Alex Welte.
Mathematical modelling is valuable in public health because it for example provides a way to evaluate strategies for controlling disease before actually trying such strategies in the field. By varying the values of model parameters, it is possible to ask questions such as: “How will the number of people getting sick during an influenza outbreak in Cape Town be affected if we give half of all sick people a drug that reduces their infectiousness by 50%?”. In May 2009, the first annual clinic on the Meaningful Modelling of Biological Data was organised at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Muizenberg, South Africa.
In July 2009 Dr Gavin Hitchcock reported on the Training and Capacity Building at SACEMA. In the prologue of the report he highlighted the importance of effective multi-disciplinary training in meaningful epidemiological modelling: “The human tragedies associated with disease in Africa and elsewhere continue to appeal our sensibilities and drain our resources: TB, malaria, trypanosomiasis, Read More
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the first issue of a Quarterly Magazine produced by SACEMA – the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis. It is our aim to provide regular updates, articles and reviews of developments in the world of quantitative epidemiology – with particular reference to the human health in the South African scene and to advances in the fight against the twin scourges of HIV and TB.