Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Makerere University, UVRI in $7.2m research partnership

New Vision 29th Jan 2016
By John Agaba

Makerere University and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe have announced a new partnership — a $7.2m research and training programme that will engage scientists in Uganda to undertake research which can address health challenges in the country and region. Dr. Edward Katongole Mbidde, the UVRI director, said the collaboration they dubbed MUII Plus, will facilitate young and professional researchers to engage in clear-cut research, specifically to address emerging and re-emerging infections in the region and diseases from animals.

“Their research will focus on infectious diseases including parasitology, the interactions between infection and non-communicable diseases, and emerging and re-emerging infections, particularly disease harboured by animals and can spread to humans,” said Mbidde.

As part of the programme, Makerere University and the Uganda Virus Research Institute will offer fellowships for training research leaders in bioinformatics, immunity and infectious diseases.

The MUII Plus is one of the seven five year programmes in Africa funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID). It aims at establishing world class research environments at African Universities and research institutes.

Prof. Alison Elliot, an infectious diseases and tropical medical research specialist and head of the co-infection studies programme at UVRI said the programme will focus on creating training opportunities for the next generation of researchers at the launch of the collaboration at the Makerere University college of engineering, design, art and technology.

“We have lots of infections in Africa — malaria, TB, et al, and we are increasingly witnessing outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infections and diseases acquired from animals. We are targeting infection and immunity research. We want to achieve world class science,” said Prof. Alison Elliot.

Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the health ministry permanent secretary, said: “We need to be obsessed with research to find solutions for these ‘global challenges’”

Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu commended The Wellcome Trust for the funding, which he said would contribute to the transformation of the University providing “home-grown scientific research and training solution to address Uganda’s development challenges.”

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