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Grantees selected to build Ebola research capacity

6 November 2015

Six institutions in Africa and Europe have been awarded funding to strengthen capacity in sub-Saharan Africa to conduct high quality health research during health emergencies and/or epidemic outbreaks. The grants were developed in response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, and they address individual, institutional, national and regional capacity.

Three recipients are based in Africa and three are in Europe, working in Africa and with African partners. The scope of the projects ranges from enhancing capacity for clinical trials to health system rebuilding. EDCTP and TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, are providing the €1.49 million funding.

“The broader goal of sustainable health system preparedness requires a stronger research base in sub-Saharan Africa. Research capacity in African countries with a good balance of suitable infrastructure and human resources is essential for sustainable health system resilience, research uptake and the future health of African populations.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Director of South-South Cooperation and Head of Africa Office

By jointly organizing the call and funding these projects, EDCTP and TDR have been able to consolidate resources and fund a larger body of work than each could have supported alone.

“We’re very pleased to be working with EDCTP to increase the magnitude of the impact. The Ebola virus disease outbreak was limited to 3 countries, but prevention of future outbreaks requires coordinated approaches like these that transcend geographical and institutional borders.”

John Reeder TDR Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases

Proposals approved for funding

A total of 38 proposals were received of which one was not admissible. After independent review, six proposals were approved  for funding.

  • Dr Selidji Agnandji, Fondation Internationale de l’Hôpital du Docteur Albert Schweitzer: Vaccine trials and deployment towards sustainability of ebola virus diseases control (Gabon; collaboration with Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom)-EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-363
  • Professor Maria Rita Gismondo, University of Milan: Enhancing individual and institutional infectious disease outbreaks response capacities of healthcare professionals to mitigate infectious emergencies in the Northern Uganda region (Italy; collaboration with Ireland and Uganda) – EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-337
  • Dr Mohammed Lamorde (Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)-Makerere University): Enhancing capacity for phase 1 clinical trials in Uganda (Uganda; collaboration with Ireland) EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-353
  • Dr Andy Leather, King’s College London: Building research capacity in clinical management of infectious diseases at two main adult government hospitals in Freetown, Sierra Leone (United Kingdom, collaboration with Sierra Leone) – EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-360
  • Dr Alfredo Mayor Aparicio, ISGLobal-Barcelona Institute for Global Health: Strengthening laboratory capacities in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital (Monrovia) for clinical trials on infectious diseases (Spain; collaboration with Liberia and Senegal) – EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-334
  • Dr Haja Wurie, University of Sierra Leone: Institutional capacity development for multi-disciplinary health research to support the health system rebuilding phase in Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone; collaboration with United Kingdom) – EDCTP-CSA-Ebola-355

All Projects are funded contingent on satisfactory contract negotiations.

The EDCTP contribution comprises funds from the European Union (€0.5 million), the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council (€0.3 million Euro) and Spain’s Instituto de Salud Carlos III (€0.1 million Euro). TDR’s funding comes from governments, international institutions, foundations and other agencies.

Coordinating for a broader approach

This EDCTP-TDR call for proposals is part of a much broader effort to address issues of health system preparedness that the EVD epidemic in three West African countries made evident.

At the World Health Summit meeting in Berlin, Germany in October, a panel assessed what types of efforts would ensure sustainable research capacity building beyond outbreaks and emergencies. The goal is increased health system preparedness and community engagement in research. The workshop included speakers from TDR, EDCTP, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Imperial College in London, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

CIHR worked with TDR and EDCTP to develop this call, and launched their own in April 2015. Grantees were invited to submit proposals in the areas of: biology; treatment; transmission, spread and containment, and studies of the impacts on health system utilisation patterns by different populations groups in affected regions, including the cost-effectiveness of health system resource development strategies in response to the crisis, and the sustainability of health workforce and other health system resource allocation strategies once the crisis subsides. The funding decisions released last week can be found on the website of the CIHR.

To synergise research efforts and to find opportunities for future collaboration, representatives of the funded projects from the EDCTP-TDR and the CIHR calls will participate in a workshop to be held in Accra, Ghana, in February 2016.

TDR

TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is hosted at the World Health Organization (WHO), and is sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and WHO.
Read more at the TDR website.

More information

For more information, please contact:

At EDCTP: Gert Onne van de Klashorst, Communications Officer,
+31703440885
klashorst@edctp.org

At TDR:
Garry Aslanyan, Manager of Partnerships and Governance
aslanyang@who.int