Researchers awarded £95,000 to tackle endemic diseases in Africa

Published: 15 December 2014

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have received £95,000 from the Wellcome Trust to tackle rabies and foot and mouth disease in Africa.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have received £95,000 from the Wellcome Trust to tackle rabies and foot and mouth disease in Africa.

The money has been awarded as a one-year extension to the Wellcome Trust-funded Afrique One consortium which was established to strengthen capacity in ‘One Health’ research across sub-Saharan Africa.

The funds will empower the next generation of African scientists to develop and implement research agendas to manage endemic diseases affecting human and animal health in their own countries.

The Afrique One consortium, led by Prof Bassirou Bonfoh of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, comprises an expanding network of African and European institutions spanning over 15 countries.

A key achievement of the consortium includes the establishment of successful East-West linkages between the Anglophone and Francophone research communities in Africa, and leading European research institutions, such as the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (IBAHCM) at the University of Glasgow in the UK and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Switzerland.

Throughout the first five years of implementation, the consortium has generated a framework to support the career progression of postdoctoral scientists in inter-disciplinary health-related research in African universities.

As part of this one-year extension, capacity will be further strengthened among existing and new postgraduate students and post-doctoral scientists to generate key outputs, such as scientific publications and competitive multi-partner grant applications, which will provide opportunities for further advancements in their research career paths.

The component of the extension led by Professor Dan Haydon, Prof Sarah Cleaveland and Dr Tiziana Lembo of the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, will contribute to two of the five disease research themes that the consortium currently focuses on: endemic foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and canine rabies.

Specifically, support will be provided to Afrique One scientists in the development of two case studies.

The first case study will investigate the political and economic incentives and barriers of FMD in Tanzania, contributing to the identification of stakeholders who have an interest in FMD control and who are more broadly driving current policy development in Tanzania.

Expertise acquired from two decades of research on canine rabies in east Africa will provide critical inputs into the design of the second case study investigating the epidemiology and ecology of rabies in Senegal.

Building on the work of Afrique One, the Institute will also contribute to the development of a structured programme of scientific training focusing on African PhD students through new grant applications to continue supporting the consortium and linkages with existing doctoral training programmes involving the Institute and a broad range of international partners.  

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First published: 15 December 2014