Uganda will be one of the eight African countries to benefit from a research programme on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which is funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a UK drug firm.
The other countries are Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi.
The research aims at developing more effective medicines and vaccines for common NCDs such as stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic respiratory infections.
“GSK today launched the first call for proposals for its Africa NCD Open Lab to support much needed scientific research on non-communicable diseases in Africa. Up to £4m (about Shs17bn) will be available in the first round of funding for researchers from the eight countries,” says a press statement.
Africa NCD Open Lab was established by GSK early this year, with a funding commitment of £25m (about Shs106bn), over a five-year period.
“In this region, and across developing countries, NCDs such as cancer and diabetes are becoming prevalent and we need to learn more about how and why they manifest differently in this setting,” the statement further reads.
Under this collaboration, GSK and African scientists from the selected countries will work on high quality epidemiological, genetic and interventional research. The findings from the research will specifically inform interventions for the prevention and treatment the common NCDs that affect many countries in the developing world. Health experts say without intervention, death from these diseases will be higher than those from infectious diseases.
GSK also hopes the initiative will help build local expertise and create a new generation of African NCD experts.
Dr Mike Strange, the interim head of the Africa NCD Open Lab said: “We believe the highly collaborative research network we are creating has the potential to dramatically improve understanding of NCDs in Africa, and could ultimately, accelerate the development of new and better medicines to treat these diseases.”
SOURCE: Daily Monitor