The MRC/Wits-Agincourt Research Unit deepens collaboration with DIMAMO

The MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) was delighted to host a team from DIMAMO from 23 – 24 February.  Like the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Research Unit, DIMAMO is also a health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS); it is based in Limpopo Province and affiliated with the University of Limpopo. 

The MRC/Wits-Agincourt Research Unit is the oldest HDSS in South Africa and has a long relationship with DIMAMO (formerly Dikgale HDSS), having played a supporting role in its establishment in 1996, and both being amongst the three founding rural nodes of the South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN). 

The MRC/Wits-Agincourt Research Unit continues to work collaboratively with DIMAMO as this successful visit shows.  At the recent meeting, the Agincourt Unit shared its SAPRIN related procedures, practices, and protocol implementation, specifically:

  • Clinic linkage procedure and technical implementation highlighting the process adopted to consent patients at the hospital and eventual linkage of their clinical records with their sociodemographic information from the HDSS.  This linkage allows us to answer questions about chronic condition prevalence, health-care utilization, treatment adherence, and the consequences thereof. A visit to the Agincourt clinic was conducted to showcase the relevant practices, systems, and infrastructure in place for the linkage
  • Migration reconciliation: This process allows the HDSS to identify people who moved from one household to another household within the HDSS surveillance area, whether in the same village or a different village.
  • Data storage and data sharing platforms to promote data visibility and research outputs
  • IT infrastructure and data backup
  • Field allocations and communication plan such as how teams are managed in the field, including the allocation of villages, definition of targets and expectation from field team

The visit re-enforced the relationship between the two sites, especially the data management, field operations and public engagement teams. The Agincourt Data team is keen for further collaboration with DIMAMO, supporting the clinic linkage systems setup, the resulting research outputs, and mutual exchange of research methods and systems.

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