Suubi-Mhealth Study (2022-2027)

Suubi-Mhealth: A mobile health intervention to address depression and improve ART adherence among Youth living with HIV (YLHIV) in Uganda

Principal Investigators: Proscovia Nabunya, PhD; Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD; James Mugisha, PhD (Makerere University)

Project Team Members: Lindsey Filiatreau, PhD; Fred M. Ssewamala, PhD

Field Coordinators: Olive Imelda Namuyaba; Edward Nsubuga

Implementing Partner: Abel Mwebembezi, PhD (Reach the Youth-Uganda)

Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the overall goal of the Suubi-Mhealth study is to develop a mobile health intervention (Suubi-Mhealth) for use among Ugandan youth with comorbid HIV and depression, taking into account their unique contextual, cultural, and developmental needs. This digital therapy intervention will apply user-centered design methodologies and will be based on the cognitive-behavioral therapy tenets found to improve depression among individuals with HIV. Youth between 14-17 years and their healthcare providers will be recruited from health clinics across the greater Masaka region of Uganda.

The study will be implemented in two phases:

In phase 1, we will develop and refine the Suubi-Mhealth intervention protocol based on formative work to understand the needs of youth. We will also explore the feasibility and acceptability of implementing Suubi-Mhealth on a small scale to inform subsequent refinement for the larger phase of this project.

In phase 2, we will pilot test the preliminary impact of Suubi-Mhealth on reducing depression and improving ART adherence, mental health functioning, quality of life, and lowering HIV stigma. We will also examine barriers and facilitators for integrating Suubi-Mhealth into health care settings.

This study will generate data-driven knowledge to address depression and ART adherence and will ultimately improve HIV-related health outcomes for youth living with HIV.

Mhealth Pilot Project (2021-2022)

Mhealth: Developing and refining a mobile health intervention protocol to address depressive symptoms among youth living with HIV (YLHIV) in Uganda

Principal Investigators:Proscovia Nabunya, PhD; Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD

Project Team Members: Lindsey M. Filiatreau, PhD.; James Mugisha, PhD. (Makerere University)

Field Coordinator: Claire Najjuuko

Funded  by the McDonnell Global Incubator Seed Program at Washington University in St. Louis, this pilot project will conduct formative work to inform the development of a mHealth intervention protocol for depressed youth living with HIV (ages 14-17) in the Masaka region in Uganda.  The study team will conduct focus groups with youth living with HIV as well as health care providers to develop a culturally appropriate, feasible, acceptable, and cost-effective intervention to address depression and improve treatment outcomes among YLHIV in low resourced settings.