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Mathematical Modelling of and Policy Analysis to Inform Clinic-Based Infection Control Intervention Impact and Policy in South Africa

Healthcare workers in South Africa, and elsewhere, may face a high risk of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection and DR-TB disease, indicating a high force of infection in clinics to both health care workers and patients. Interventions such as cough screening or improved ventilation have the potential to reduce transmission in clinics, reducing TB morbidity. However, it is unclear which infection control (IC) approaches will be most cost-effective, and be feasible in low and middle-income country settings.

The PhD research is part of a wider project, that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to inform, develop and predict the potential impact of a health systems intervention to improve IC for DR-TB within health facilities in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa. The student will work as a part of the research team, supporting the IC design process by developing an individual-based mathematical model of the movement of people through clinics, and Mtb transmission, accounting for airflow. The model will be used to estimate the proportion of transmission that occurs in different parts of the clinics, and at different times of day. Working with economists, the model will then be used to estimate the health and economic impact of IC interventions on clinic-based transmission.

The PhD will also include a policy analysis, which will be used to inform the involvement of decision makers in the model design, the presentation of modelling and economic results, and the process for integrating the modelling and economic work in the IC design process. Specifically, the student will conduct a mapping of policy and decision-making processes around investments in IC to understand actors' intentions, networks, and power relations.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the MRC London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Programme which will provide additional training and local student cohort activity opportunities. Applicants should have a strong quantitative background, with an interest in developing core skills in infectious disease modelling. A keen interest in economic and policy analyses are also required. Experience in qualitative research will be advantageous.

PhD position
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Closing date
January 31st, 2018
Posted on
December 18th, 2017 16:31
Last updated
December 18th, 2017 16:31