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The University of Southampton
Couples HEalth Research and Intervention Studies (CHERISH)

Cherish Team in the Primary Care and Population Sciences Newsletter

Published: 8 August 2019
Sweetwaters, Kwazulu Natal
Sweetwaters, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

The past few months have seen a great deal of preliminary work taking place as the CHERISH project gets underway...

The Couples HEalth Research and InterventionS (CHERISH) project is a five-year, NIHR funded programme of work building upon an initial study that showed how couples-based therapy could lead to positive health changes. Uthando Lwethu (“our love” in Zulu) encouraged couples to test for HIV together and promoted strong mutual support that leads to better health. The initial findings were encouraging and have not only led to further work with the original Uthando Lwethu couples, as well as additional couples in the same area to further couples HIV-testing. Our intention is that CHERISH will ultimately lead to more couples-based studies aimed at addressing the burden of other health issues (the next stage of CHERISH will look at diabetes and will begin later this year).

Dr Kate Morton and Dr Frank Feng have joined the CHERISH team, bringing with them strong health psychology and data analytical skills that will play a major part in moving the project forward.

Our offices at Highfield and UHS seem very far away from the rural Sub Saharan Africa region where the initial couples’ interviews will take place, but this past week has shown how we can work effectively across the miles. Regular video conference meetings and a series of training sessions delivered to researchers in Kwa-Zulu Natal, all delivered via a video link from Highfield Campus, have successfully bridged the 8,500 miles between Southampton and this rural South African province. The team will be visiting the University of Cape Town and the Human Sciences Research Council later this year as part of the CHERISH programme of work.

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