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Melkamu Merid Mengesha - prospective doctoral student

Melkamu Merid Mengesha is an Assistant Professor at Arba Minch University in Ethiopia. He is also a prospective doctoral student in the research group Child and Family Health, with supervisors Cecilia Follin, Inger Kristensson Hallström and Degu Jerene. In August he visited the research group at the Department of Health Sciences in Lund.

What is your academic background?

– I have a clinical background through my undergraduate study as a BSc in Public Health Officer and, after my postgraduate study in Master of Public Health in Epidemiology, I am inclined to research works in public health.

What is your upcoming doctoral project about?

– My doctoral research project is on the feasibility and effectiveness evaluation of digital peer-support-based anti-stigma intervention in improving clinical outcomes among adolescents living with HIV in Ethiopia.

– Given the multi-pronged impact of HIV-related stigma, by developing and testing a well-designed anti-stigma intervention, this project aims to test whether our intervention achieves a reduction in perceived and internalized stigma and improve clinical outcomes.

How did your interest in this research start?

– The inspiration for my project links to a previous doctoral thesis work by Mulatu Biru, a former doctoral student in the Child and Family Health Research Group, at Lund University. This previous Ph.D. work in Ethiopia indicated the need for more work on HIV-related stigma to improve the care and support of children living with HIV.

– I have published research works on HIV care and support among children that added additional motivation and inspiration for a good understanding of the problem in context. Dr. Cecilia Follin is my primary supervisor, and the co-supervisors are Prof. Inger Kristensson Hallström and Dr. Degu Jerene.