Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH):
AIDS in Africa, ICASA 2013

Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) is a blended training programme for young researchers on health research and scientific communication. EV4GH trains “Emerging Voices” to participate actively in international conferences and to raise their voice in the scientific debate. The global health scene is still largely dominated by Northern stakeholders and by “senior experts”. The EV4GH programme wants this to change. This unique programme for young researchers on health research and scientific communication selects exceptional and dynamic “Emerging Voices for Global Health” and equips them to participate actively in scientific debate.


The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp organised two previous editions of EV4GH. In 2010 EV4GH was linked to the First Global Symposium of Health Systems Research in Montreux, and in 2012 to the Second Global Symposium in Beijing. The most recent EV4GH was linked to the AIDS in Africa Conference (ICASA), ‘Now more than ever: targeting zero’ in Cape Town, South Africa, held from 7 to 11 December 2013; and was hosted by the School of Public Health and Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS (CRHA) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa.


EV4GH in 2013




Within the broad field of HIV in Africa, EV4GH 2013 comprised three thematic tracks: a clinical track, a prevention track, and a health systems track.

Track 1 (clinical track). Theme: HIV co-infection: clinical challenges in 2013
HIV in low resource settings has raised many challenges in prevention, treatment, care and support. With the scaling up of HAART both morbidity and mortality have declined. However, due to late presentation of patients diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections remain challenging in sub-Saharan Africa. This track invites contributions based on original research on HIV co-infections, such as TB, cryptococcal meningitis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

Track 2 (prevention track). Theme: Combination prevention for HIV
Reducing the rate of new HIV infections remains top priority in addressing the HIV epidemic. There is now a broad consensus that combining different tools and approaches addressing individual biological and behavioral factors, with social and contextual factors, offers the best promise of success. Uncertainty remains about the optimal mix of such a “combination prevention package” as well as how to best evaluate its effectiveness in real life. This track invites contributions related to design and/or evaluation of combination prevention for HIV in Africa.
Track 3 (health systems track). Theme: HIV & Health Systems Strengthening
Health system weaknesses have been identified since long as key obstacles, hampering the achievement of HIV program targets. Now that HIV has become a chronic disease, the need for continuity of care and lifelong retention in care for the growing caseloads of people living on ART is only further adding health systems challenges, particularly in the context of large scale internal and cross-border migration triggered by urbanization, conflict, and unemployment. There is now a broad consensus on the need for Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) in Africa, but there is a wide range of HSS interventions. This track invites contributions related to HIV & HSS, including research on innovative models of HIV care.


Participants had to be active in a field, either directly involving HIV or TB or which could help address HIV and TB in Africa.


Training phases


EV4GH in 2013 comprised several phases:
1) E-coaching and distance learning in preparation of the face-to-face phase (Sept-Nov 2013)
2) Face-to-face training: scientific presentation and communication skills using innovative formats, and content training (Cape Town, Nov 25 – Dec 2, 2013)
3) Young researchers pre-conference hosted by the University of Western Cape School of Public Health (4-5 Dec 2013)
4) Participation in the ICASA conference (Cape Town, Dec 7-11 2013)
5) Wrap-up, towards publication, and field visits to the South African health system (Dec 12-13, 2013)
6) Distance coaching towards a publication in the scientific literature.


Expected outputs for each participant included a poster, an oral presentation using an innovative format (Pecha Kucha or Prezi); and a publication in a peer-reviewed journal




EV farewell 1
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HIV in Africa beyond the MDGs: Emerging Voices, emerging agendas


The Centre for Research in HIV/AIDS, the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp), and EV4GH 2013 held a one-day public symposium on 5 December 2013 at the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape.  The public was invited to join the 50 emerging researchers from across Africa who were partiipcating in EV4GH to debate and drive the new agendas needed to address HIV in the “post-MDG” era.


Convened as the CRHA's  6th Annual UWC HIV in Context Research Symposium, the Centre was proud to host the EV4GH 2013 Symposium to discuss and debate "HIV in Africa beyond the MDGs: Emerging Voices, Emerging Agendas"  leading into the largest HIV conference in Africa, ICASA 2013 “Now more than ever: Targeting zero” in Cape Town.  Short, powerful presentations followed by facilitated interaction and debate with eminent researchers, policy makers and activists followed five thematic areasand their intersections:

  1. Written on the body: clinical and biological implications of TB, HIV, and ART (“Clinical track”)
  2. Post HIV? Policy, politics, and systems thinking (“Global health and health systems policy track”)
  3. Towards People-Centred Care (“Organization of Care” track)
  4. PMTCT: gendered experience of access, testing, and linkage to care (“PMTCT/Programme track”)
  5. Vulnerability, risk and protection: examining structural drivers, "key populations", and human behaviour  (“Vulnerability and prevention track”)

Conference registration was free and limited to 150 participants.