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Terrence Beteck Epie (cohort 2019-2020) reflects on activities he engaged and provides an insight into how the current outbreak might be affecting HIV/AIDS clinical Cascade in Cameroon.

Terrence Epie graduation in Oxford

Since December of 2019, the world has been battling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak which has claimed the lives of more than 264,406 persons as of May 7, 2020. Following its declaration as a pandemic, countries have taken stringent measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus which is yet to have a cure or vaccine. Some of these measures include limiting movements, hand washing, social distancing, and shutdown of business activities.

Cameroon, with a struggling health system and high HIV prevalence, happens to be one of the African countries significantly affected by this outbreak.

With 2020, set by UNAIDS to achieve the 90-90-90 HIV/AIDS epidemic control targets, the current outbreak might have huge impact on the ability of Cameroon to achieve such targets. This is why Terrence engaged in actives to provide an insight into how the current outbreak might be affecting HIV/AIDS clinical Cascade and supply chain and how to circumvent some of these effects.

Terrence is currently leading a self-funded research team that seeks to understand the impact of the current COVID-19 outbreak on HIV services. This team is located in the HIV-COVID-19 treatment centre in Cameroon with about 5000 patients on treatment. The team hopes that the results of this study will provide one of the first non-model evidence in this sector that will inform policymakers on how to put mitigating actions in place.

Terrence is also leading a team of consultants under the banner of a PEPFAR/USAID sponsored FHI360-EpiC project in Cameroon. This project seeks to achieve and maintain HIV Epidemic control through the introduction of innovative decentralized antiretroviral drug delivery systems like the use of community pharmacies and private hospitals. This is particularly important given the need to reduce overcrowding in health facilities and an increasing drop out of HIV patients from care due to fear of contracting COVID-19 during their visit to health facilities.

"The Master help me develop a critical mindset to analyze global health challenges. I am directly applying the skills I learnt in the course. For instance, it was easy to set up the research protocol given that I had gone through a similar process during my research placement in the course. In addition, I have the tools needed to carry out project evaluation thanks to the module on evaluation and drawing on the epi-statistics and health policy and system research modules.   
I look forward to building a carrier in project implementation and implementation research"

Terrence is a medical doctor/ HIV/AIDS consultant, an awarding-winning entrepreneur with the TEF, featured on the 2019 list of most influential young Cameroonians . He recently graduated from the University of Oxford as an ExxonMobil-Oxford scholar. He is passionate about transformational leadership for social impact.

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