Elialilia Okello

Co-Principal Investigator

Saidi Kapiga

Co-Principal Investigator

Edmund Kisanga

Study Coordinator

Mobility Patterns and Feasibility of tracking women at high risk of HIV in the fishing communities in Lake Victoria


People living in fishing communities (FCs) around Lake Victoria are disproportionately affected by HIV infection with the prevalence being highest among women working in hotels, bars, and other recreational facilities. Women from FCs may benefit from biomedical interventions, including future HIV vaccine studies; however, evidence shows their high mobility is likely to negatively impact intervention design and implementation. Reasons and patterns of mobility are not well understood, and it is unclear if methods for tracking people, such as using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and iris recognition technology, were acceptable to this population. This information is needed in the design of effective HIV interventions.

Primary objective

This study aims to: a) describe mobility patterns and its associated factors among women living and/or working in FCs, b) assess the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of iris scanning for identification and prevention of double enrolment during research in this population, and c) establish the relationship between mobility patterns and health outcomes among people living with HIV and/or TB in East African cross-border regions along Lake Victoria.


This study used multi-stage, multi-centre, mixed methods (cross-sectional surveys and qualitative participatory methodologies) to investigate several aspects of women’s mobility in FCs around Lake Victoria as well as mobility and treatment outcomes among people living with HIV and/or TB in East African Cross-Border Regions.


MITU, Tanzania/London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK: Heiner Grosskurth, Philip Ayieko; MITU, Tanzania: Ramadhan Hashim; Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Unit (UVRI) & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda: Janet Seeley, Ubaldo Bahemuka, Matt Price, Sarah Nakamanya, Emily Webb, Freddie Kibengo, Eugene Ruzagira; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya: Elizabeth Bukusi, Zachary Kwena, Bertha Oketch; International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)/UVRI, Uganda: Brenda Okech, Gertrude Nanyonjo, Ali Ssetaala, Pat Fast, Monica Kuteesa, William Kidega, Jan De Bont; University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA: Jessie Edwards, Grace Mulholland, Michael Herce, Michael Emch, Audrey Pettifor, Sharon Weir


Kwena Z, Nakamanya S, Nanyonjo G, Okello E, Fast P, Ssetaala A, Oketch B, Price M, Kapiga S, Bukusi E, Seeley J; LVCHR. Understanding mobility and sexual risk behavior among women in fishing communities of Lake Victoria in East Africa: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health. 2020 Jun 15;20(1):944. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-09085-7. PMID: 32539818; PMCID: PMC7296721.

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