UCT and Queen Mary University of London team awarded £3 million funding to boost life-saving surgery research in Africa

Queen Mary University of London

A team of African researchers and Queen Mary University of London researchers have successfully secured almost £3 million in funding for a new research programme that will establish centres of research excellence in four African countries with the aim of saving the lives of patients who undergo life-saving surgery.

Funding for the project was awarded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), and will be led by Professor Bruce Biccard from UCT and Professor Rupert Pearse from Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom.

According to Professor Rupert Pearse, “The funding was awarded in recognition that there is a need across Africa for a substantial increase in the number of surgeries to meet patients’ health needs. To prevent a subsequent rise in deaths after surgery, our team of researchers will work to develop solutions specifically, tailored to the needs of the various health systems, to support safe surgical care.”

Through research and working closely with local health systems and those on the ground, the programme will introduce safer and more effective practices, bring about the necessary policy changes, train future African researchers, and build on the existing work on the continent to save up to 300,000 lives each year.

This work will include creating centres of research excellence in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Africa, where a comprehensive research programme will be developed to help improve the safety and effectiveness of pre-, intra- and post-surgical care across Africa.

The centres of excellence will also have a major role in supporting current African researchers interested in improving surgical care, combined with research training for the next generation of clinical academics. Of the £3 million awarded, over £2 million will be spent in Africa to build more research capacity and capabilities across the continent with the aim that more research in Africa can be led by African clinicians.

Photo courtesy /  QMU

Article by Jedidah Mwangi