Long-time UW partners Ruth Nduati and Dalton Wamalwa, from University of Nairobi (UoN), have received a five-year $3.2 million U.S. grant from NIH Fogarty International Center and The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to reduce the burden of HIV and improve delivery of HIV services in Kenya. The grant focuses on developing innovative, inter-professional programs in research education that target not only students but also health professionals in the Kenya Ministry of Health (MOH) and community teaching hospitals. UW Department of Global Health (DGH) is the main U.S.-based grant partner, along with Stanford University.
The grant supports the Health-Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) – Kenya, and will bring $641,500 U.S. per year for five years for the period 2018-2022. The HEPI initiative will build on the successes of two previous UoN Fogarty and PEPFAR-funded programs. However, the previous MEPI program focused predominantly on medical education training and less on research training, which is the main focus of HEPI.
“Kenyan researchers are best placed to understand the health problems Kenyans face and therefore best placed to drive the research agenda,” said Carey Farquhar, Professor, UW DGH, who is leading the UW team on the initiative. “This grant will strengthen research training in Kenya and will be especially effective as it is based on an equitable partnership led by UoN.”
“HEPI trainees will learn to meet health challenges in an innovative, systematic, evidence-based manner,” says Ruth Nduati, MMed, MPH, Professor, University of Nairobi. “We are committed to quality healthcare for all, but have limited resources. Kenyan health care workers have to make choices on where to allocate resources, and being able to use tools to understand the priority health issues, conduct cost-benefit analyses, and do research to determine the impact of health interventions will bring important long-term benefits.”
Kenya has one of the highest HIV burdens in sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated 1.6 million HIV-infected adults and children. To achieve and sustain epidemic control, Nduati, Wamalwa, and their UoN team will train a multidisciplinary workforce to design, conduct, and disseminate research that can be readily moved from the field into policy and practice to inform HIV prevention, care and treatment. This will be achieved by strengthening implementation science and dissemination research training capacity for health professional students in medicine, nursing and pharmacy at four Kenyan universities and affiliated teaching hospitals, most of which are located in rural, underserved areas, and the Kenya Ministry of Health.
The grant consortium brings geographically diverse institutions together from greater Nairobi (the county with the second highest burden of HIV in Kenya), western Kenya (where the HIV epidemic is most severe), and the U.S. into a program that creates bridges across the disciplines of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy, and strengthens ties to MOH and government facilities.