Fogarty Fellow: Abigail Link

Portrait of Abigail Link

Abigail Link, RN, MPH, PhD

Nominated From: University of Minnesota
Research Site: Makerere University, Uganda
Primary Mentor: Paul Bohjanen

Research Project

Meningitis Etiology, Outcomes, and the Lived Experience in Northern Uganda

In sub-Saharan Africa, most deaths due to meningitis are caused by bacteria or fungi and each year over five million people are affected by meningitis. Lira Regional Referral Hospital (LRRH), is located in the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa; yet, little is known about the causes of meningitis, the overall burden of disease, standard practices for care, and what patients experience when confronted with this disease in northern Uganda. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence and etiology of meningitis in Lira, Uganda, assess what treatments are available for meningitis and understand the patient’s experience to improve meningitis mortality outcomes and improve patient care in rural Uganda.

This study will provide information on the burden of meningitis in rural northern Uganda and understanding about meningitis causes, treatments, and preventions available to determine if meningitis guidelines are appropriately implemented. It will also provide laboratory confirmed causes of meningitis, which will provide crucial information on specific strains of bacteria causing disease, which has previously not been possible in this area. Interviews from patients will provide novel insight from those directly affected by meningitis to understand their experience and to inform future intervention strategies. This information can help LRRH improve meningitis care. The results of this study will also have implications for meningitis care in rural areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa, which is representative of where most people live.