Treatment of Strokes in LMICs and Aging with HIV in Kenya: The Winners of the Untold Global Health Stories of 2020

We are thrilled to congratulate Mariet Benade and Eunice Kilonzo, the winners of the Untold Global Health Stories of 2020 contest. 

Benade’s entry highlights the need for evidence-based protocols for the treatment of stroke in low- and middle-income countries in the Northern Cape in South Africa, while Kilonzo proposed a focus on aging with HIV in Kenya. The winners were revealed at CUGH's annual meeting in April, which took place virtually given the COVID-19 pandemic.

CUGH, NPR’s Goats and Soda blog, and Global Health NOW chose the winning ideas for their novelty, creativity, and potential to illuminate a little covered issue in the global health sphere, to feature in an exclusive story. NPR’s Goats and Soda Blog will cover Kilonzo’s idea, and Global Health NOW will cover Benad's entry.

The competition, which seeks to identify and give a platform to neglected global health issues, drew more than 200 submissions—all ideas deserving of greater attention. We thank everyone who took the time to submit an entry.

Global Health NOW’s Winner

Treatment of Stroke in LMICs, submitted by Mariet Benade, MD, physician/graduate student at the Boston University School of Public Health in the United States:

"For patients presenting with stroke in a small town in the Northern Cape in South Africa, a CT scan of the brain within the window period for thrombolysis is not possible by virtue of where they live. Until now, research in the management of stroke has been focussed on how to treat acute neurological fallout in the developed world, despite the fact that LMICs carry the majority of the global morbidity and mortality related to stroke. If we truly want to move the needle on inequity related to this issue, we need research that innovates in ways appropriate to the context it wishes to serve, not simply expect LMIC health systems to adapt to comply with first world benchmarks. Clinicians working in global health have a responsibility to recognize this need for research specifically in the development of evidence-based protocols for treatment of stroke in the absence of specialist imaging." 

The NPR Goats and Soda Winner

Aging with HIV in Kenya, submitted by Eunice Kilonzo, health journalist and communications specialist with the African Population and Health Research Center and Nation Media Group, Nairobi, Kenya:

"The population of people with HIV is steadily growing older due to the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Between 2012 and 2016, the number of people older than 50 years living with HIV increased by 36 percent worldwide. In Kenya 5.6% of older people are HIV-positive but HIV services (testing and management) continue to target adolescents and young adults, women of reproductive age and key populations (men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users and female sex workers). In Nigeria, emerging evidence has shown a gradual increase in sexually transmitted infections among the elderly. 

"I would like to tell the story of being old and living with HIV, revealing the stigma and the lack of HIV health services designed specifically for older people in Kenya. The story would showcase how difficult it is for this age population to access HIV care including for opportunistic infections including STIs, partly because of the myth that older people do not have sex."