The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Group on Vaccines for vulnerable people in Africa (VAnguard) project was launched at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Entebbe and KEMRI|Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi.
Funded by the NIHR, VAnguard aims to strengthen collaborations between national and international stakeholders in the identification of social and biological factors that impair vaccine impact in African communities, to develop integrated strategies and recommendations to optimise vaccine impact, and to contribute to health equity in Africa.
The project consortium is comprised of local and international partners in vaccine research including UVRI, Makerere University, Uganda Christian University, KEMRI|Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Oxford University, Cambridge University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
A collaborative research approach
VAnguard is a community-focused programme that fosters a sustainable, collaborative culture in research and facilitates sustainable pathways to research impact in Africa. By linking vaccine researchers in Uganda and Kenya with counterparts in the UK, the partnership enhances mutual engagements with national stakeholders, such as Ministries of Health and Non-Governmental entities, in the process of identifying and addressing affected communities throughout the implementation process. Its cooperative processes ensure that suitable and acceptable study methods, as well as relevant recommendations, are developed by multidisciplinary research teams for both local and global application.
Building Vaccine Research Capacity in Africa
The partnership will also create sustainable avenues for capacity building of early and mid-career vaccine researchers in Africa, where a critical mass is urgently needed. PhD and post-doc trainees in biological and social science and community engagement disciplines will be supported to investigate the causes of unsatisfactory health benefits from vaccination programmes in selected communities across Kenya and Uganda.