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African experts join forces to curb threat of tropical diseases

Five African scientists are to study at the University of Edinburgh as part of a scheme to tackle infectious diseases.

The experts – from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – will conduct research that seeks to reduce the burden of Africa’s most damaging diseases. 

Five African scientists are to study at the University of Edinburgh as part of a scheme to tackle infectious diseases.

The group is the first cohort funded through the TIBA-AAS Out of Africa Postdoctoral Fellowship programme. 

The year-long initiative is a collaboration between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the UK National Institutes of Health Research Global Health Unit Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA).

Projects include a study into the use of mass drug administration to control parasitic diseases and a review of the ethics of clinical trials conducted in Africa.

Dr Mohamed Elhadidy, of the University of Science and Technology, Zewail City of Science and Technology, in Egypt, will investigate genetic markers in microorganisms. He will assess how they affect the severity, transmission, and antimicrobial resistance of the diseases they cause. 

The use of genetic tools for malaria surveillance will be the focus of research by Dr Jesse Gitaka, of Mount Kenya University, Kenya.

Dr Miriam Njoki Karinja, of the University of Nairobi’s Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Kenya, will consider how community heath can influence national level decision making. 

How parasite infections affect the intestine in mice will be assessed by Dr Ajoke Ehimiyein from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. She will use laboratory models and a range of immunological and microscopic techniques to investigate.

Dr Blessing Silaigwana, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, will gauge the effectiveness of clinical trial designs during epidemics in Africa. She will also review the ethical considerations governing emergency research. 

TIBA is an Africa-led, multi-disciplinary partnership that brings together world-class researchers from nine African countries. The nations taking part are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They will work with experts from the University of Edinburgh to generate new knowledge and inform comparative analyses of health systems.  Funding for the Fellowships has been provided by the University of Edinburgh. 

The AAS is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan-African organization. Its vision is to see lives transformed on the African continent through science.

This is a hugely important partnership. It allows our university to offer real support and build enduring relationships with researchers of outstanding promise from across Africa. We see the partnership with the African Academy of Sciences as a fundamental step to building a deeper and more enduring set of collaborations with researchers and research institutions from across the continent. This will allow us to work together in tackling complex issues of global and public health.

Professor James SmithVice Principal International at the University of Edinburgh

 

This is an important partnership that will help to generate transformative health research for the benefit of the continent.

Dr Judy OmumboAAS Programme Manager for Affiliates and Postdoctoral Programmes

Related Links 

TIBA website