October 2022

We have now completed the first year of the DESTINE project and work is well underway.

Analysis of blood samples at EPHI (Ethiopian Public Health Institute) is in progress, with results expected by the end of 2022. This will enable work to begin on Work Packages Two and Three.

 All five DESTINE PhD students have been recruited and two are already working from the University of Bristol. The first annual conference will take place in Addis Ababa during the week beginning 7 November 2022.

Getahun Molla Kassa

I am Getahun Molla Kassa from the University of Gondar. I am a PhD student at the University of Bristol and my supervisors are Dr. Aaron G Lim, Dr. Josephine G Walker, Dr. Elias Ali Yesuf, Dr. Dagmawi Tewolde, and Professor Matthew Hickman. I hold a BSc in Public Health, MSc in Clinical Tropical Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, and MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

In my PhD project, I plan to undertake detailed epidemiological studies to improve our knowledge of the prevalence, disease progression, and risk factors associated with HCV infection in Ethiopia. This work will help the country’s effort to eliminate HCV as a public health problem. Moreover, the results of this study will be used as a base to inform the modelling component of the DESTINE project. By conducting data analysis and systematic review I will work on the following objectives:

1. Estimate the prevalence of HCV infection in Ethiopia across regions and overall.

2. Identify risk factors associated with HCV infection in the Ethiopian context.

Melaku Tileku Tamiru

My name is Melaku Tileku Tamiru, and I work at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. I received a Master of Science in Pharmacy Practice from this university. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the DESTINE project at the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine. This is a 4-year Ph.D. program run in collaboration between University of Dundee and Addis Ababa University under the supervision of Prof. John Dillon, Dr. Wondwossen Amogne and Dr. Andrew Radley.

My Ph.D. research focuses on developing and evaluating HCV treatment pathways in Ethiopia in order to contribute to the evidence base guiding the global response to the elimination of HCV as a public health concern. It also intends to demonstrate how its research findings contribute to policy development processes through knowledge translation. Over the course of my term, I will address the following objectives:

1. Develop sustainable public health strategies to prevent further HCV transmission

2. Develop treatment pathways suitable for Ethiopian HCV strategy and health care system, that enable greater access to treatment of HCV

3. Pilot the efficacy and effectiveness of treatment pathways to inform modelling in different environments in Ethiopia.

The first annual DESTINE conference will be held in Addis Ababa during the week beginning 7 November 2022. This will be attended by members of the UK team as well as all Ethiopian project members and key government and healthcare stakeholders within Ethiopia and the wider region. This conference will promote partnerships within and beyond the project team, publicise the project and also increase community awareness.

May 2022

We are six months into the DESTINE Project since the kick-off meeting on 4th Oct 2021.   

Planning and procurement of consumables required at EPHI (Ethiopian Public Health Institute, WP1) to analyse blood samples for HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) infection are underway.  

 We have successfully appointed 5 Ph.D. students who will be working both in Ethiopia and collaborating UK universities depending on their stages of research work. Currently, their Ph.D. registration with UK Universities and visa application are in progress, and we look forward to having them here in the UK soon.  

Here is the profile summary of one of our Ph.D. students who will be joining us soon, and one of our Ethiopian collaborators.

Tesfa Sewunet Alamneh

I am Tesfa Sewunet Alamneh from the University of Gondar, (College of Medicine and Health Science, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics). I have a BSc degree in Public Health and a Master of Public Health in Biostatistics. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in DESTINE project that aims to scale up the HCV screening and treatment strategies for Ethiopia and development of effective preventive strategies. My Ph.D. focuses on the application of infectious disease mathematical modeling and cost-effectiveness analysis tools for scale-up of the HCV testing and treatment strategies in Ethiopia to achieve the WHO (World Health Organization) 2030 global strategy for HCV elimination as a public health threat.

This is a 4-year Ph.D. program in collaboration between Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol and College of Medicine and Health Science, the University of Gondar under the supervision of Prof. Peter Vickerman and Dr. Aaron Lim and Prof. Tadesse Awoke respectively. During this tenure, I aim to achieve the following objectives:

1. Model the HCV epidemic in Ethiopia and Its Health impacts

2. Estimate the impact and cost-effectiveness of different screening and treatment strategies for controlling HCV in Ethiopia.

3. Estimate the costs of different interventions and statistical analyses of productivity and health utility data.

Saro Abdella Abrahim

I am Saro Abdella Abrahim from the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), Ethiopia. I have a Master of Philosophy in Epidemiology and am employed as a lead researcher and supervisor at TB and HIV reference laboratories, EPHI. I am a collaborator on the DESTINE project that aims to improve HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies in Ethiopia.

The study focuses on developing an effective HCV diagnostic strategy through designing and evaluating HCV screening and confirmatory test pathways. The overarching goal of my work is to contribute to the country’s effort toward enhancing HCV case identification and disease monitoring. This will in turn play a key role to achieve the WHO’s HCV elimination goal set for 2030. 

The first Bi-annual PMC Meeting was held on 03rd May 2022 where Prof. John Dillon gave a brief update of the project to collaborators from Bristol, Ethiopia, Israel and Dundee attending online. It was also a great platform for the Ph.D. students to introduce themselves to the collaborators about their work and skills.