USF College of Public Health wins Gates Foundation Challenges Explorations grant

The global health project will study Zimbabwe women’s perspectives on the side effects of hormonal contraceptives 

Tampa, FLA (June 15, 2017) – The USF College of Public Health has been awarded a highly competitive Grand Challenges Explorations grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Takudzwa Sayi, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Community and Family Health, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled, “Perspectives on Side-Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in working toward solutions for persistent global health and development challenges. Sayi’s project was one of 28 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 18 grants announced yesterday by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Takudzwa Sayi is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Community and Family Health.

To receive funding, Sayi and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated a bold idea in one of four critical global heath and development topic areas.

The $100,000 grant will allow Sayi to collect in Zimbabwe data from users of hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill and IUDs, who experience or express concerns about side effects associated with these methods. The research may help in the design of new contraceptive technologies.

The global health research project will use journey mapping to discover women’s experiences and responses to hormonal contraceptives.  Sayi will document contraceptive use decision-making while navigating women’s perceived and expressed concerns. The project will also include interviews with family planning providers to get their perspectives on side effects of hormonal methods and how they perceive women deal with them.

“Getting this chance to work on research that will help women and their partners achieve their reproductive goals is exciting,” Sayi said. “Zimbabwe has one of the highest contraceptive use rates in sub-Saharan Africa, and a majority of users use hormonal contraceptives, yet concerns with side or health effects continue to be motivations for discontinuing use or avoiding future use of these methods.

This is Sayi’s first grant-funded research opportunity.

“This grant gives me the opportunity to develop into the kind of researcher that I would like to be in the future. I am grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Grant Challenges Explorations for the opportunity,” Sayi said. “This type of research is important to me, because it can help make positive impacts on families and communities.”