UK foundation commits £1.5 Million to tackle funding gap and build UK-Africa network of health researchers

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is one of the institutions taking part in the programme

The Hamish Ogston Foundation, a United Kingdom charity dedicated to bridging the gap in both access to health care and health awareness around the world, has committed £1.5m to support the training of early career health researchers in Africa and the creation of a network of health researchers between the UK and five African countries.

The Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme, named for Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, will fund 25 PhD scholars based in Ethiopia, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe for a three-year PhD programme which will help to address the most pressing public health problems confronting the region including infectious diseases, maternal, child and adolescent health, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and mental health

The African fellows will be paired with the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to create a unique, mixed and integrated cohort. This program is an attempt to prevent a “brain drain” where skilled Africans emigrate to other countries to complete their training. Instead, scholars will spend most of their time in their home country.

According to LSTM’s Director, Professor David Lalloo, the Grants will offer the researchers an opportunity to undertake self-directed research, test theories and develop proofs of concept in areas relevant to current and future needs in global health.

 It is hoped that this program will lead to effective and relevant research for African countries, and will contribute to positive changes in the research culture in UK and African institutions by encouraging two-way learning and peer support, and promoting transcultural understanding.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) partner institutions in Africa will be The Medical Research Council (MRC) in the Gambia and Uganda, Zambart at the University of Zambia School of Medicine, and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute and the Zvitambo Institute of Maternal and Child Health Research in Zimbabwe. Other research institutions may be added as the programme gains traction.

The launch of the Platinum Jubilee Health Training Program follows the Hamish Ogston Foundation’s award of £350,000 in June 2022 for 70 Platinum Jubilee Grants for early career health professionals who want to lead research projects in tropical medicine and global health care in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Photo courtesy / Google

Article by Jedidah Mwangi