Understanding parent and child mental health outcomes and the potential of family-centred interventions in HIV epidemic settings in Africa

ANU School of Demography Seminar

Date and Time: Friday 30 November 2018 – 3.00pm – 4.00 pm

Location: Jean Martin Room, Beryl Rawson Bldg #13, Ellery Crescent, ANU

Presenter: Dr Tamsen Rochat, Associate Professor, University of the Witwatersrand

Title: Understanding parent and child mental health outcomes and the potential of family-centred interventions in HIV epidemic settings in Africa


Africa is at the centre of the global HIV epidemic, and South Africa is one of the most heavily affected countries with one of the largest HIV treatment programs in the world. The success of prevention and treatment in South Africa has led to large numbers of HIV-infected parents surviving to raise their HIV uninfected children, with up to 60% of children being raised by an HIV-infected primary caregiver, most frequently their mother. This raises concern about how HIV exposure may impact on children’s development and mental health. While vertical transmission in South Africa has been reduced to less than 3%, the incidence amongst adolescents has continued to rise, with emerging evidence suggesting that this generation of HIV-exposed and affected children are at greater risk of infection themselves in adolescence. To date, most interventions to reduce HIV incidence during adolescence in South Africa have demonstrated only marginal or no sustained effects.

This presentation focuses on parent and child mental health outcomes in one of largest longitudinal cohorts in Africa, with a particular focus on the critical transition from pre-adolescence into early adolescence; and introduces a family-centred intervention approach, which has been successful tested amongst HIV infected parents with pre-adolescent children. Improving our understanding of how adolescent risk emerges is critical for both prevention and intervention. The Siyakhula cohort is one of only a few cohorts globally that includes both HIV-exposed, affected children and HIV-unexposed comparison group. It is the only cohort in Africa that includes objective tests of children cognition, and measured both parent and child mental health.

Contact: Susan Cowan +61 2  6125 4273



Ibrahim Abraham and Christianity and Social Class in South Africa

Dr Ibrahim Abraham has recently joined the ANU.

From his personal website http://ibrahimabraham.net/ :

“I am an Australian sociologist of religion and contemporary culture, currently researching Christianity and social class in South Africa, based in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, where I am the Hans Mol Research Fellow in Religion and the Social Sciences.”

See also: https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/abraham-i

His conference paper at the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) Conference given in Sydney on November 21st, 2018,  was

“Spiritual and Class Insecurity in the South African Fiction of Niq Mhlongo”

See http://afsaap.org.au/conference/2018-2/  for his Abstract.




Speaker: Augustus Panton
Augustus is a PhD candidate (economics) at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU. His PhD research is focused on the monetary policy implications of climate change and alternative climate policy regimes. Augustus has previously worked as an economist in the Research, Policy & Planning Department at the Central Bank of Liberia.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6 PM – 7:30 PM

Venue: Fenner Seminar Room, Building 141, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Linnaeus Way (which is 200 metres from the Dickson Road/Daley Road roundabout).


Policy efforts are underway toward the creation of a single currency in Anglophone West Africa. This presentation will provide an overview of the key issues and challenges that must be considered in the design and implementation of monetary policy in the region and elsewhere (particularly in developing countries), with the unexplored interlinkage between monetary policy and climate change at the heart of the discussion. For a region that is highly susceptible to climate-induced environmental and macroeconomic disruptions, the ability of the proposed regional central bank to promote socio-economic development will crucially depend on having strong interlinkage between climate actions and the monetary policy framework.

Contact: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/phd/augustus-panton

KIrsty Wissing on Water in Africa and on African Studies in Europe

Kirsty is Wissing is an anthropology PhD student  researching the cultural politics of cleanliness and purity in relation to water in Ghana.  Building on work in other areas of the ANU by  Professor Quentin Grafton from Crawford School of Public Policy, as well as by Associate Professor James Pittock and PhD Candidate Adegboyega Adeniran, both based at the School of Fenner School of Environment and Society, Kirsty sees water as a key site to explore economic, environmental, social as well as political impacts within and between countries in Africa as well as globally in a changing climate.

Below is an item  by Kirsty Wissing first published in the November  2018 issue of Habari Kwa Upfupi, the newsletter of AFSAAP, the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific.

2018 AFSAAP Travel Grant – ASAUK – Kirsty Wissing post-conference report

Kirsty is a recipient of the 2018 AFSAAP Travel Assistance Grant. This grant from AFSAAP assisted her attend the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (ASAUK) conference in the United Kingdom a couple of months ago. Below is her report on her successful trip.

” A Canberra winter. Far removed from the warmth, the church/mosque/information centre/trader/traffic/goat/rooster noises of postgraduate fieldwork in southern Ghana. There, the mind can defrost if not also, in my case, perhaps overheat a little. To converse, suggest and interchange ideas with community members and university colleagues alike that would inform my thesis and also my general outlook.

In pursuit of more such conversations, to freshen the mind and regain feeling in my literally and metaphorically numb thumbs, I was lucky to attend, convene a panel and present at the biannual African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (ASAUK). This conference was hosted by the University of Birmingham’s Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA), formerly known the Centre for West African Studies.

To me, the collegial cross-disciplinary approach of DASA – combining anthropology, history, human geography development, literature, media, popular culture and religion – seems to reflect the values that the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AfSAAP) holds of bringing the diverse training and employment experiences of its members into dialogue as focused on the African continent and its diaspora. It was also a chance to reconnect with academics and students at DASA that had hosted me as an Endeavour Research Fellow in 2016 to discuss research progressions.

The ASAUK conference drew participants from across the African continent, Europe, the United States and Canada and far flung places like that island called Australia to interchange ideas and find common ground in research and policy. From the analysis of African first ladies, to extractives, the arts, and assertions of traditional and electoral legitimacy, topics were diverse and dynamic.

With Barbara Carbon (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Stephan Miescher (University of California, Santa Barbara, the United States), I co-convened and also presented in a panel that considered anticipated and unexpected infrastructural impacts of dam-building in relation to the power of water, comparing Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I also unpacked how theatre can promote inter-faith dialogue in Ghana in a presentation convened by Eric Otchere (University of Cape Coast, Ghana). Thanking AfSAAP at each presentation for enabling attendance at the conference, and also using informal conversation opportunities, I was able to share AfSAAP’s work, mission, and promote the upcoming conference in New South Wales.

While in Europe, I also presented research and discussed AfSAAP as an organisation in Sweden at the European Association of Social Anthropologists conference at the University of Stockholm, and elsewhere in the United Kingdom at the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth conference at the University of Oxford, and at the Royal Anthropological Institute in London.

Feedback from these forums will directly feed into my PhD dissertation as well as related articles. I am grateful to AfSAAP for the chance to learn from and contribute to scholarship about the African continent in and its diaspora, and in doing so to promote AfSAAP and bring diverse experiences and disciplines together.” ‘

‘Fear and race on the streets of Melbourne’

Four Corners on ABC TV

‘Crime and Panic, reported by Sophie McNeill and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th November at 1.00pm and Wednesday 7th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners ‘

‘For more than two years, the media has been reporting that Melbourne is in the grip of a crimewave, overrun by African street gangs responsible for a wave of violence and theft’


In contrast, Blacktown, where ANU PhD candidate Atem Atem  is doing his fieldwork on the Sudanese community, has a different reputation, one of social cohesion.


Mapping the distribution of maternal health and service delivery in West Africa

ANU School of Demography Seminar

Date and Time: Friday 9 November 2018 – 3.00pm – 4.00 pm

Location: Jean Martin Room, Beryl Rawson Bldg #13, Ellery Crescent, ANU

Presenter: Drs Bernard Baffour and Dorothy Ononokpono

Title: Mapping the distribution of maternal health and service delivery in West Africa

Improvement in maternal and new born health in developing countries has been a major priority in public health since the 1980s. In spite of efforts to increase access to reproductive health services and reduce maternal mortality, maternal health is still poor in most developing countries. Globally, about 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications every day, and it was estimated that in 2015, roughly 303 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth (World Health Organization, 2016). Unfortunately, almost all of these deaths (99%) occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented with adequate access to health care. Although, in sub-Saharan Africa, a number of countries halved their levels of maternal mortality since 1990, mortality rates for newborn babies have also been slow to decline compared with death rates for older infants. In this study we examine spatial variability in the distributions of women of reproductive age, pregnancies and births in three West African countries (Mali, Liberia and Guinea) with a high burden of maternal and neonatal deaths.

Bernard Baffour is a lecturer in the School of Demography. Bernard holds a PhD in Social Statistics from the University of Southampton. His main interests focus on the use of his methodological expertise in survey methods and the analysis of complex data.

Dorothy Ononokpono is the 2018 Caldwell Fellow. Dorothy holds a doctorate degree in Demography and Population Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a lecturer in the department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Uyo, Nigeria.