BSMS to tackle HIV in a vulnerable rural setting
Dr Collins Iwuji, Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at BSMS, has been awarded a Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) grant for the project 'Drought, Poverty and HIV Drug Resistance: threat to resilience in a vulnerable rural setting.' The project will commence in April 2018 and will explore the relationship between the vulnerability created by drought and the increase in HIV drug resistance in the uMkhanyakude district of South Africa.
The co-location of HIV and drought has made HIV and diarrhoeal diseases the two leading causes of death in the district. The project tests the hypothesis that the added shock from drought contributes to HIV-positive individuals prioritising their means of livelihood over their health, resulting in poor engagement with care and greater HIV drug resistance in the district.
Dr Iwuji is one of the principal investigators for this project, along with Deenan Pillay, Professor of Virology at the Africa Health Research Institute and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Co-investigators from the University of Sussex include a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the School of Global Studies, the Institute of Development Studies and the Department of Geography. Find out more about SSRP here >
WTBSCGHR supports successful women in science workshop in Ethiopia
A four-day workshop organised by Dr Aster Tsegaye was held for 31 female scientists representing five academic institutions - Addis Ababa University, University of Gondar (North Ethiopia), Haramaya University (Eastern Ethiopia), Hawassa University (Southern Ethiopia), Pesticide Industry (South West Ethiopia) and a guest from Ahfad University in Sudan.
The workshop took place at the College of Health Science of Addis Ababa University and was organised by the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science & Technology (SEWIST) in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Center for Global Health Research (WTBSCGHR), Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), and College of Health Science, AAU. Conscious of the fact that less women are joining STEM fields, involve less in research and assume leadership positions, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology supported the inception of SEWIST.
The aim of the event was to empower women in science through training, sharing inspiring experience and networking. Participants gained hands on skills in research methodology, grant writing and manuscript development as well as training on sample size calculation, data entry and analysis using Epidata and SPSS software.
The agenda also included space for participants that had attended the prior SEWIST workshop in 2015 to give an update of their work, which proved inspiring and encouraging to new attendees.
Dr Workeabeba Abebe (Pediatrician, AAU), said: “I was stuck and unable to publish articles despite having lots of data at hand, however after the first workshop I felt empowered and inspired to pursue publishing and have since got promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.”
Dr Tequam Debebe (Radiologist, AAU) said: “After attending the first workshop I become more comfortable to provide advice to my students. I was also encouraged to balance clinical activity, leading a department and trying to publish manuscripts, by allowing myself to have a day dedicated to research. I am now almost ready to get promoted to the rank of an Associate Professor.”
The WTBSCGHR encouraged Dr Arwa Al-Khangi from Afhad University to attend with view of supporting a similar workshop to take place in that institution. We have now received the proposal and it is awaiting approval.
"Ethics is much more than issuing study approval letters…"
This is the view of Hailemichael Getachew, one of the students that the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research (WTBSCGHR) sponsored to attend the annual Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) Spring School, Durban, during the last week of September.
He adds: "… this view is contrary to what I encounter in my daily practice in Ethiopia. Thus, the training and interactions during the Spring School with senior people in the field were inspirational and motivating. I am encouraged to contribute my share to the field particularly in my country where, in my view, there is a lot of education to do."
Hailemichael and Yemerisashc Seralegne are students at AHRI, WTBSCGHR’s partner in Ethiopia. They both wrote to the Centre to share how helpful it had been to participate in this event and will now focus on applying for a GHBN bursaries to advance their PhD research.The aim of the annual GHBN school is to provide a friendly, informal environment in which people at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes (MOPs) in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand-Laos, Vietnam, at the Ethox Centre in the UK and at the WTBSCGHR, can meet to share ideas, experiences and expertise about ethics and community engagement, learn more about these important areas of practice in low income settings, and develop ideas for future research projects. To read more about their projects you can visit their website.
This is the third year that the WTBSCGHR sponsors students for this event, and we hope to be able to continue this into the future.
BSMS hosts ethical implications talk
Dr Adamu Addissie and Abebayehu Tora came to BSMS on Wednesday 19 July for a talk on the ethical implications on biomedical research in low and middle income settings. The two researchers have collaborated with the Global Health and Infection team at BSMS over the years. Dr Adamu spoke about his partnership with Prof Gail Davey and Prof Bobbie Farsides, which specialises in the adoption of rapid ethical assessment (REA) as a practical method for assessing ethical issues relating to biomedical research projects in Ethiopia and other low and middle income settings. Abebayehu discussed his research on the stigma related to neglected tropical diseases and his social and behavioural research into podoconiosis.
Association of Physicians Developing Links with Developing Countries
A PhD researcher from the University of Khartoum recently visited BSMS to undertake research tuition with Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Leena Al-Hassan. The visit was part of the Association of Physicians Developing Links with Developing Countries grant, awarded to Prof Melanie Newport and Dr Al-Hassan. Einas Awad, from the Institute of Endemic Diseases at the University of Khartoum, was trained on using Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) as a technique for accurate investigation of epidemiology and diversity. Einas's project investigates Klebsiella pneumoniae, a common bacterium that can cause a wide range of conditions including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicaemia, meningitis and diarrhoea. K. pneumoniae is very highly resistant to antibiotics and is problematic in hospital-acquired infections worldwide. Einas is investigating the genetic epidemiology of this bacterium in Sudan as well as characterising the genetic mechanisms of its resistance.