by guest – Iruka N Okeke
On the 2nd of July, the UK Wellcome Trust announced a new and exciting program, which has the objective of developing biomedical science at African Institutions. Unlike many programs with this objective, the Wellcome Trust’s African Institutions Initiative. is focused on supporting Africa-led consortia, giving African clinical and biomedical scientists the opportunity to drive their academic development.
The maiden list of projects is impressive and offers considerable potential:
- Southern Africa Consortium for Research Excellence (SACORE) – Director: Dr Newton Kumwenda, Malawi College of Medicine
- Research Institute for Infectious Diseases of Poverty (IIDP) – Director: Dr Margaret Gyapong, Director, Dodowa Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service
- Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) – Director: Dr Alex Ezeh, African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya
- One Health Initiative – African Research Consortium for Ecosystem and Population Health – Director: Professor Bassirou Bonfoh, Swiss Centre for Scientific Research, Côte d’Ivoire
- One Medicine Africa-UK Research Capacity Development Partnership Programme for Infectious Diseases in Southern Africa (SACIDS) – Director: Professor Mark Rweyemamu, Sokione University of Agriculture, Tanzania
- Strengthening Research Capacity in Environmental Health (SNOWS) – Director: Professor Esi Awuah, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
- Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence in East Africa (THRiVE) – Director: Professor Nelson Sewankambo, Makerere University, Uganda
By now…I am sure you have got my point. Perhaps you noticed it too…not one of these projects is based in our self-styled ‘giant of Africa’, in the country that houses the most medical schools, trains the greatest number of health care professionals, and serves among the greatest number of patients – Nigeria.
Nigeria will of course be a major player and participant. For example the CARTA program, based in Kenya, includes 8 African universities and 3 research institutes and (thankfully), one of these is our own University of Ibadan. UI is of course one of Africa’s earliest and foremost medical schools and four decades ago was a renowned world center for virology and primary health care research. It however becomes difficult to deny that for health research tomorrow, rather than leading, we are following.
Read more about the initiative at SciDev.net
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead