Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) & Immunify.Life submit for Ethics Committee Approval of Major Clinical Study
Effectiveness of incentives (IMM tokens) and paperless systems on the HIV treatment outcomes in Kakamega County, Kenya
The partnership between MMUST and Immunify.Life has reached an important milestone with the submission of the clinical study protocol for Ethics approval. One of the major goals of our 5 year partnership is to undertake clinical research for the purposes of improving patient outcomes and strengthening the healthcare systems.
Other important goals of the partnership include;
- Exploring areas of mutual interest with the view to applying data, and related technological solutions to the challenges and opportunities of Healthcare & Disease management in Kenya.
- Identify vehicles for sharing relevant information with Governments, NGOs, and the medical community in Kenya, regarding Immunify.Life projects and activities that align with MMUST goals.
Following Ethics and other regulatory approvals, the clinical study is now expected to start before the end of the year. The clinical study will start in Kakamega County and will then roll out to the entire country.
According to UNAIDS, 2020, Kenya has about 1.5 million people living with HIV with an adult (15–49 years) prevalence rate of 4.5% and 42,000 annual new infections. There are 21,000 HIV-related deaths due to the fact that 75% of adults and 61% of children are on antiretro treatment (ART).
The HIV epidemic affects most of its general population, but groups of men who have sex with men, women, sex workers, and people who inject drugs are still more vulnerable to infection. In 2018, 69% of adults living with HIV in Kenya were accessing treatment. However, treatment coverage among children aged under 15 was lower, at 61%. Although awareness of HIV and AIDS is high in Kenya, many people living with HIV face high levels of stigma and discrimination which prevent people from accessing HIV services.
Kakamega County has a prevalence of 5.9% with 57,952 people infected, of whom children constituted 16%. The HIV prevalence among women stands at 7.3% and men at 4.4%, with 154 new adult infections in 2013. Of the 2,754 pregnant women living with HIV in the County, 76% did not deliver in a health facility. Approximately 1,605 adults and 462 children died of AIDS-related conditions in 2013 in the County (HIV Strategic Plan -2016–20).
As of December 2020, the number of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) was estimated at 46,374 with 96% (44,778) on Antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Antiretroviral drugs have been shown to substantially reduce AIDS-related deaths. If used properly ART can also lower a person’s viral load and prevent onward transmission.
Study Rationale and justification
This study will contribute to the future Strategic Direction on HIV in Kenya, thereby improving health outcomes and wellness of all people living with HIV, through tracking mechanisms for referrals, improve on access to and equal distribution of services and human resources so as to avoid loss in the cascade of care, increased advocacy on ART uptake and adherence and scale up interventions to improve quality of care and improve health outcomes.
To investigate the effectiveness of incentives and paperless tracking systems on HIV treatment outcomes in low socio-economic settings in Kakamega County.
- To test the effectiveness of the IMM token reward system on HIV/AIDS clients with suspected treatment failure at Kakamega County.
- To evaluate the outcome/impact of the token reward system on health care providers managing HIV/AIDS clients with suspected treatment failure at Kakamega County.
- To identify the socio-economic factors hindering retention by the HIV patients suspected treatment failures.
- To develop an integrated cloud based system for improving treatment adherence for HIV/AIDS clients with suspected treatment failure at Kakamega County.
- To test the integrated cloud based behavioural model for enhancing accurate data of HIV/AIDS clients with suspected treatment failure at Kakamega County.
Immunify.Life’s technology and platform offer the mechanisms and framework to capture large amounts of vital data for populations where currently insufficient reliable data exists, allowing their health needs to be better understood and managed.
The HIV treatment outcomes study is an elegant application of this technology to facilitate data capture, data consolidation, and evaluate improved treatment adherence via token rewards to ultimately empower patients, communities, and entire countries.
About Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST)
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) is the premier science, technology, and innovation university in Kenya. It has approximately 17,000 students across its branches, with the main campus located in Kakamega Town.
The University has a focus on international collaboration and has previously executed agreements with Save the Children Fund, a world leading NGO with 25,000 dedicated staff across 117 countries, and as such is an excellent research partner.
Immunify.Life is a transformative and self-sustaining healthcare ecosystem secured by blockchain. Its primary use and mission transform the landscape of health management and data utilisation as we know it today by strengthening global health systems and access to health data via an incentivized data capture tool developed for the Immunify.Life disease register.
With a vision to empower all patients and emerging economies with the tools to own and manage their health future and data to collaboratively engage in the global health landscape, it provides an all-in-one platform and ecosystem to capture full, transparent health records of secured patient medical information and offers the patient direct access to personal data via a unique health identification tag with the ability to consolidate this data to enable Big Data for Health.
The platform integrates a fully sustainable ecosystem allowing for the incentivization of health campaigns and rapid scaling of its deployment, seamless integration of peripheral health-related data, and data management tools.
In this context, the organisation intends to scale organically and rapidly from the implementation and growth of its patient base through collaborations with relevant government health ministries and subsidiary entities, as well as non-governmental organisations, partner health organisations, and for-profit partners, sponsors, and donors.