The month of May was a time of celebration at HEARD with the graduation of Dr Monica Ansu-Mensah and Dr Kwabena Asare who have both been supported in their studies through the HEARD PhD Scholarship Programme.

Dr Ansu-Mensah’s thesis evaluated the accessibility, barriers and potential solutions to implementation/sustainability of point-of-care diagnostic testing services at the primary healthcare level in the Bono Region in Ghana. The study revealed poor availability and moderate geographical accessibility to the WHO-recommended diagnostic tests in the region. Some of the findings from her PhD were published in the journal BMC primary care ( Dr Ansu-Mensah hopes to pursue a post-doctorate degree and to develop her research interests as an academic in her home country of Ghana.

Dr Kwabena Asare’s thesis sought to develop and test strategies to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginosis among women living with HIV in South Africa. His thesis involved identifying important risk factors for STI transmission in women and determining the impact of point-of-care testing for prompt STI care versus centralised laboratory-based testing. Dr Asare is a Research Fellow in the Department of Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He hopes to further his academic career by developing expertise in causal inference approaches for robust evaluation of the impact of exposures and interventions using data from routinely collected electronic health records.