EDCTP Alumni Network

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Call Career Development Fellowship (CDF)
Programme EDCTP2
Start Date 2018-06-01
End Date 2020-11-30
Project Code TMA2016CDF1548
Status Active


Conditional economic incentives and motivational interviewing to improve adolescents’ retention and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in south-east Nigeria: a cluster randomised trial (ARA - Adolescents’ Retention and Adherence Trial)

Host Organisation

Institution Country

Current Organisation

Nnamdi Azikiwe University

Current Job Title

Senior Lecturer


Institution Degree Year
University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria PhD 2012-02-01
University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria MSc 2008-10-01
University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria BPharm 2004-04-01

Areas Of Specialisation

Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) Malaria


Ekwunife , OI
Anetoh , Mu
Kalu , SO
Ele , PU
Eleje , GU


Adolescent HIV patients face enormous difficulty in accessing HIV care services. Given their vulnerability to risk-taking behaviour, this group also have worse treatment outcomes compared to other age groups. Poor treatment outcomes will impact negatively on HIV/AIDS management and control particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as more than eight out of ten of the world's HIV-infected adolescents live in this region of the world. Limited evidence exists on the effectiveness of service delivery interventions to support adolescents' retention on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and adherence to ART. This trial is designed to evaluate the impact of conditional economic incentive and motivational interviewing on adolescents' retention in HIV care and adherence to ART in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.


The study will be a cluster randomised controlled trial that will be conducted in selected HIV treatment hospitals in Anambra State, Nigeria. Based on sample size calculation, 12 HIV treatment hospitals from Anambra will be selected for the study. Six HIV treatment hospitals each will be randomised to either the intervention or the control arm. A structured adherence support scheme termed the 'Incentive Scheme' will be applied to the intervention arm while the control arm will receive routine HIV care (usual care). Additionally, patients in the intervention arm will receive motivational interviewing at baseline and following initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), they will receive a gift voucher of US$5.6 when HIV viral load (VL) is < 20 copies/mL at 12 weeks, a gift voucher of US$2.8 if the VL remains suppressed for the next 3 months, and the next 6 months, and finally a gift voucher of US$5.6 if the VL remains < 20 copies/mL at 1 year. All gift vouchers will be conditional not only on VL results but attending the motivational interviews. The primary outcome for the trial will be the difference between groups in the proportion with HIV VL suppression (≤ 20 copies/mL) by 12 months and then 24 months after withdrawal of incentive.


The findings of this proposed trial will provide evidence on the feasibility of applying conditional economic incentives combined with motivational interviewing to improve retention and adherence to antiretroviral therapy of adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria and possibly in other sub-Saharan African countries.


Registered in the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry, ID: PACTR201806003040425 . Registered on 2 February 2018.



Obinna Ekwunife
Name Country Institution
Obinna Ekwunife Nigeria Nnamdi Azikiwe University
1. The main aim of the present study is to use the rigour of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the impact of financial incentive and motivational interviewing on adolescents’ linkage, retention and adherence to antiretroviral therapy and HIV care in Anambra State, Nigeria. 2. Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside the cluster randomized trial will be conducted as a secondary aim to assess the cost per additional patient achieving viral suppression through the proposed intervention. 3. In-depth interview (IDI) with all the healthcare providers in the intervention arm will be conducted at the end of the study to assess their perspective on the programme’s feasibility.
1. Chukwuemeka Odimgewu Teaching Hospital, Awka (COOUTH) 2. General Hospital Onitsha (GHO) 3. General Hospital Ekwulobia (GHE) 4. General Hospital Enugwu Ukwu (GHEU) 5. Holy Rosary Hospital, Onitsha (Water side) (HRHO) 6. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi (including NAUTH Extension, Nneni – NAUTH 2 and NAUTH Extension, Oba – NAUTH 3) 7. Our Lady of Lourdes, Ihiala (OLL) 8. St Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha (SCB) 9. St Joseph Hospital, Adazi Nnukwu (SJH) 10. Regina Caeli Specialist Hospital, Awka (RCSH) 11. Immaculate Heart Hospital and Maternity, Nkpor (IHHM) 12. Iyi Enu Mission Hospital (IEMH)
Study Design:
Cluster randomized trial
1. The primary outcome for the trial will be the difference between groups in the proportion with HIV viral load (VL) suppression (≤20 copies/mL) by 12 months and 24 months. 2. The secondary outcome measure will include the average change in CD4+ count, adherence to ART (measured using pill count) and adherence to an appointment with the hospital for individual participants.
Start Date:
End Date:

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