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Research Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS (REACH)

Launched in 2006, the Research Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS (REACH) is a collaborative program between the Program of African Studies and the Buffett Center, Northwestern University and the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria to produce knowledge and recommendations for the development of more effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in specific Nigerian communities. It aims to increase the quantity and quality of information available to policymakers, practitioners, activists, researchers, and communities on the factors driving HIV transmission, while building the capacity of Nigerian AIDS researchers.

REACH office staff University of Ibadan

REACH office staff University of Ibadan

REACH was conceived out of the realization that many ongoing prevention initiatives in Nigeria have been insufficiently informed by scientific studies and regular and systematic evaluations. In addition, the need for detailed, research-based, and systematically-presented information on the dynamics of HIV in specific Nigerian contexts has been repeatedly stated by Nigerian authorities and reflects the priorities of the country’s national HIV/AIDS strategy. Northwestern University and the University of Ibadan jointly begun implementing REACH in 2006. With a social science-led and community-based approach unique to REACH, its scheduled activities will result in innovative and potentially transformative findings.

The Alliance began its work by conducting background research on HIV prevention issues and identifying relevant stakeholders in Nigeria. We have also begun designing a framework and methodology for the conduct of the community-level case studies by multi-disciplinary research teams. Two main approaches have been identified in conducting these community-level case studies: 1) a longitudinal study, beginning in two culturally diverse communities in Nigeria, and 2) a site survey (cross-sectional) of clinical prevention services across the country, initially beginning with 3 sites.

REACH plans to disseminate information and recommendations to relevant interveners and stakeholders in the public, NGO and donor sectors and assist them in adjusting their activities in accordance with the data and conclusions generated. Because the empowerment of Nigerians will be required to gain control of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, REACH strives throughout its operations to increase the number of well-trained scholars who are competent to conduct policy-relevant research on HIV/AIDS. As an international collaborative program, REACH aims to bolster Nigerian research capacities with the aim of having Nigerians eventually assume full control of all its operations.

For more information regarding REACH, contact Nkem Dike, Associate Project Director, at n-dike@northwestern.edu.

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Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University
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