February 2022  |  ICHAD & SMART Africa Monthly Monitor


Greetings from the ICHAD and SMART Africa Teams!

As the global community adjusts to life during a pandemic, February marked the beginning of a measured return to in-person meetings and travel for our team. ICHAD Director Fred Ssewamala spent several weeks at our Uganda offices, bringing together the ICHAD Uganda staff for a retreat to review our accomplishments and best practices and to look ahead to new research studies, programs, and collaborations on the horizon. In addition, our D43 CHILD-GRF fellows met in person for training workshops on developing an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and Responsible Conduct in Research. We also received funding for a new study, welcomed a new staff member in Uganda, shared the Suubi4Stigma baseline report and the 2021 Capacity Building Report, and celebrated many accomplishments and milestones among our staff, trainees, and alumni.


Our capacity building team has been busy selecting the next cohorts for the upcoming summer training programs, as well as recruiting a one-year postdoctoral associate with the LEAD program. Our field staff have been dedicating their time to ongoing participant interviews and follow-up. And we are thrilled to begin planning the "Forum on Child and Adolescent Global Health Research and Capacity Building" to be held June 20-30, 2022, in Kampala and Masaka, Uganda. We’ll have more details soon!  

In partnership,

The ICHAD and SMART Africa Teams


Suubi4Stigma Releases Baseline Report

Suubi4Stigma is a two-year pilot study (2020 – 2022), aimed at addressing HIV/AIDS-associated stigma and its negative impact on adolescent health and psychosocial well-being. Suubi (Hope)4Stigma examines two evidence-informed interventions: 1) group cognitive behavioral therapy (G-CBT) that aims at cognitive restructuring and strengthening coping skills at the individual level, and 2) multiple family group (MFG) therapy that strengthens family relationships intended to address HIV/AIDS-associated stigma at the individual level and within families. A total of 89 adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) and their caregivers (dyads) who met the inclusion criteria were enrolled in the study and completed the screening and baseline interviews.  Key findings from the baseline survey capture data including demographic characteristics of study participants, family relationships, social support, HIV stigma and status, medication adherence, mental health functioning, access to medical care, and more.


Overall, the baseline survey data illustrates how adolescents currently view themselves, their families, their communities as well as their futures. These baseline data act as benchmarks from which change will be measured, at 3- and 6-month follow-up between the usual care and treatment conditions. Read the full report here.


ICHAD Receives Funding for New Study, Obuvumu: Improving Health Service Uptake for Survivors of Sexual Violence (Discrete Choice Experiment)


ICHAD was awarded funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), for our new study, Obuvumu, a three-year study that quantitatively investigates the demand for, barriers to, and preferences for health services among survivors of sexual violence using a Discrete Choice Experiment. The Obuvumu (courage in Luganda, a local Ugandan language in the study area) study innovates and addresses current gaps in health services through the following specific aims: 1) Conduct formative qualitative research to inform a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) that will generate systematic information on health service utilization for female survivors of sexual violence in Uganda, 2) Using a DCE, assess the factors that most influence women’s decisions to seek health services, and 3) Based on findings from the DCE, apply user-centered design principles to co-design an intervention that addresses barriers and preferences identified in Aims 1 and 2. Study findings will inform interventions that facilitate health service utilization among survivors of sexual violence in low-income countries like Uganda, ultimately improving the overall reproductive health, mental health, and related health outcomes for women.


SMART Africa Center and Partners Celebrate New Book with Virtual Book Launch

On February 16, ICHAD, SMART Africa, and the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis launched a groundbreaking book titled Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: Towards Evidence Generation and Policy Development, co-edited by Dr. Fred Ssewamala, Dr. Ozge Sensoy Bahar, and Vice Provost Mary McKay. The twelve-chapter book was authored by scholars with years of extensive research into child behavioral health in Sub-Saharan Africa. The virtual launch event was hosted in partnership with Open Classroom and was moderated by Gary Parker, Associate Dean for External Affairs at the Brown School. The event featured several of the contributing authors representing five Sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Co-editor Mary McKay, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives at the Office of the Provost at Washington University in St. Louis, provided an overview of the authors’ collaboration towards the production of the book. “This book is truly about having authors from the continent elevate their knowledge and expertise to inform what needs to happen for children and their families. It is also about radical collaboration, where we are in support of a common mission, which is to help children and families do better, and science becomes a real vehicle and tool for that. These are incredible scholars from across the globe. The real talent is in the authors of these chapters”.  

The presenting authors were Muthoni Mathai, PhD, from the University of Nairobi; Celestin Mutuyimana, MSc, from the University of Rwanda; Agatha Kafuko, MA, from Makerere University in Uganda; Alice Boateng, PhD, from the University of Ghana; Abdallah Ibrahim, PhD, from the University of Ghana; and Hadiza Osuji, PhD, from New York University. The authors presented the key takeaways from their respective chapters focused on child behavioral health conditions and the implications for policy, research, and practice in their respective countries.


To view the recording of the virtual book launch, visit Open Classroom here. For more information about the book or to purchase a copy, visit the publisher’s site here.


Recent Publication

Witte, S., Filippone, P., Ssewamala, F. M., Nabunya, P., Sensoy Bahar, O., Jennings Mayo-Wilson, L.,  Namuwonge, F., Damulira, C., Tozan, Y., Kiyingi, J., Nabayinda, J., Mwebembezi, A., Kagaayi, J. & McKay, M. M. (2022). PrEP Acceptability and Initiation among Women Engaged in Sex Work in Uganda: Implications for HIV prevention. eClinical Medicine.


Tozan, Y., Capasso, A., Namatovu, P., Kiyingi, J., Damulira, C., Nabayinda, J., Bahar, O. S., McKay, M. M., Hoagwood, K., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2022). Costing of a Multiple Family Group Strengthening Intervention (SMART-Africa) to Improve Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health in Uganda. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


ICHAD Uganda Staff Retreat

ICHAD Founding Director Fred Ssewamala, and ICHAD Uganda Center managers, study coordinators, and partners took time to gather for a staff retreat to share information about our existing and new studies and enhance coordination between our field study teams.



ANZANSI Family Program

SMART Africa Studies

Kyaterekera Project

mHealth Pilot


Say No to Stigma









CHILD Global Research Fellowship

LEAD Global Training Program

Researcher Resilience Training




March 9 | 12:30 pm CST

ICHAD Speaker Series: Dropping the Head-pan for Better Educational Opportunities: The Case of Girls in Northern Ghana at Risk of Dropping out of School for Child Labor, Drs. Alice Boateng and Abdallah Ibrahim, University of Ghana. For more information and to register, click here.


April 13 | 12:30 pm CST

ICHAD Speaker Series: Harnessing the Power of Digital Technology to Support and Improve Treatment Outcomes in Patients with Tuberculosis Disease in Uganda, Dr. Juliet Nabbuye Sekandi, University of Georgia. For more information and to register, click here.




June 20-30, 2022

Forum on Child and Adolescent Global Health Research and Capacity Building, Kampala and Masaka, Uganda




Call for Applications

LEAD Global Training Program One-Year Postdoctoral Research Associate Position

- Postdocs or early career researchers with a commitment to global or domestic (US) health disparities research—especially mental health within resource constrained settings 

- For full program and application information, click here.




Global Social Welfare   Global Social Welfare Special Issue: Financial Capability and Assets for Socioeconomic Development




Our Team


SMART Africa News

SMART Africa/ICHAD  Conference Videos

2021 Annual Report

2021 Capacity Building Report

Capacity Building Connection






Congratulations to the following trainees and alumni for their recent accomplishments!


Joshua Kiyingi (RRT 2021), Prema Filippone (LEAD 2021), and Proscovia Nabunya (RRR 20219) co-authored the paper, PrEP Acceptability and Initiation among Women Engaged in Sex Work in Uganda: Implications for HIV prevention.


Samuel Kizito (RRT 2021) was presenting author of the poster session, Impact of Economic Empowerment on ART Adherence in HIV-Positive Adolescents in Uganda, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, February 12-16 (virtual). The work presented was co-authored by trainees and alumni Proscovia Nabunya (RRR 20219), Joshua Kiyingi (RRT 2021), Jennifer Nattabi (RRT 2021), as well as ICHAD team members.


Agatha Kafuko (CHILD-GRF 2020) presented her book chapter, Current State of Child Behavioral Health: Focus on Violence Against Children in Uganda, at the virtual  launch event for the book, Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: Towards Evidence Generation and Policy Development.


We want to celebrate you!


We invite all trainees and alumni of ICHAD training programs (CHILD-GRF, LEAD, & RRT) to submit their accomplishments. Email Laura Peer at Lpeer@wustl.edu.






ICHAD Welcomes a New Team Member!

This month the ICHAD Uganda team welcomed Ms. Nanziri Sophia Kizito, a new Research Assistant. She will be based at the Kampala office. We're glad to have her on board!


Social Corner

Wedding Congratulations!

ICHAD Uganda Research Coordinator Phionah Namatovu married Robert Matembe at a beautiful wedding in December.

We wish them a lifetime of love and happiness!


PhD Bound!

Head of Operations in Uganda, Flavia Namuwonge, has been admitted to the PhD program in Social Work at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Congratulations to Flavia! We wish her good luck on her next exciting chapter!


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