pandora-id

“Thought without practice is empty; and action without thought is blind” Kwame Nkrumah

Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Medicale (FCRM), Republic of Congo

The Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Médicale (FCRM) was created as a legal entity in 2008 to address the issue of the limited number of Congolese scientists conducting health research activities in the Republic of Congo. FCRM is an independent non-govermental institution. The foundation has a collaboration agreement with both the Congolese Ministry of Public Health and Minsitry of Science and Technology, as well as the University Marien Ngouabi (the only Public University in the Republic of Congo).


Structure: The decision-making body is the Conseil d’Administration (Board of Directors) led by the founders. Overall direction is guided by an Administrative and Executive Board led by the Executive director appointed by the Conseil d’Administration. The day to day management is overseen by the Executive director with the assistance of an Operations manager, an Administrative and finance manager, a logistics officer, a project manager and an administrative assistant. The financial accounts unit is subject to independent financial audit biennually. The foundation raises funds through grants and donations to address its objectives. FCRM is in charge of the Molecular Biology- and Parasitology laboratories of the Faculty of Heath Sciences overseeing the personnel, research activities and maintenance of facilities. FCRM further serves to strengthen collaborations between academic, research and health institutions in Congo and advocate for public and private sector support to health research in the country. Regionally, FCRM coordinates the Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM), a network of excellence aiming to develop capacities for clnical research. Since 2018, FCRM hosts also the PANDORA-ID-NET coordination. Both consortia are funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2).


Three facilities host the activities of FCRM. These comprise: (1) a molecular biology lab established at the Faculty of Health Sciences University Marien Ngouabe, (2) a health facility including clinical research facility and (3) a centre for infectious diseases research. The focus of activities at FCRM include:

1) molecular epidemiology related to malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and HIV pathogens.

2) bacterial and viral infections in diarrheal infections.

3) basic immunological responses to identified pathogens.

4) Studies related to co-infections.



  • FCRM which enjoys a long-standing collaboration with the institute for Tropical Medicine (University of Tübingen, Germany) which serves as a training platform for Congolese MSc and PhD students. While celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, FCRM brings to PANDORA-ID-NET as well as the local community a history of developing staff in building health research capacities in sub-Saharan Africa, and is engaged for several years in promoting gender equality in science in the Republic of Congo through a program of sensitization called “women in sciences”.

Chatham House, U.K

The Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House examines key global health challenges and how they manifest themselves as foreign policy and international affairs problems across various sectors. It seeks to help leaders around the world - in government, private foundations, international organizations, business and civil society - reach well-informed decisions that improve global health security. It does so by conducting independent research and analysis and facilitating dialogue between sectors and communities.


Using its convening power to bring leading figures from public health, academia, government, civil society and the private sector to the table, the Centre has focused its work on three interlinked aspects of global health security: disease threats and determinants that transcend borders; access to health-related products, technologies and services; and international affairs, governance and health.


Under Chatham House Rule, the Centre on Global Health Security organises events (workshops, symposia, roundtables, conferences) where decision makers and other stakeholders can discuss health-related matters and come to agreement on a way or ways forward.

As well as its unique convening power, Chatham House’s strengths lie in the network of technical and academic expertise spanning local, regional and global levels. The Centre on Global Health Security will work closely with colleagues in other PANDORA Work Packages to ensure coordination and alignment of activities to achieve the project’s overall goals.


Chatham House’s core activities within the PANDORA project include:

- Mapping the key stakeholders across Africa with an important role in driving national and regional response efforts
- Developing operational models for regional rapid response teams in collaboration with the Africa CDC, regional CDCs and the Centre on Global Health Security’s African Public  Health Leaders Fellowship Programme
- Harmonising ethical principles and regulatory roles across Africa through a series of regional workshops, which will culminate in a consensus summit.

Activities will be designed to provide support and capacity to all seven of the PANDORA Work Packages with the objective of maximising the impact of the project.


Chatham House will convene stakeholders to enhance networking across Africa and the dissemination of the project’s key outputs. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the project’s outputs are accepted and formally embedded in African-led institutions.

HerpeZ, Zambia

HerpeZ is a Zambian medical research and capacity development organization founded in 2012 by researchers interested in diagnostics and herpesvirus infections and other neglected causes of morbidity and mortality that affect high disease burden populations across sub-Saharan Africa. HerpeZ is supported by the EDCTP, UBS Optimus Foundation, Human Herpesvirus 6 Foundation, Thrasher Research Fund and Kids Here & There, and has active research programmes on tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus and human herpesvirus 6 infections, bacterial pneumonia/sepsis/meningitis and emerging infectious diseases.


HerpeZ is based at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia, and has strong collaborative links with the University of Zambia (both the medical and veterinary schools) and Zambian Ministry of Health through the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). In the United Kingdom, HerpeZ partners with The University of Lincoln and University College London. Laboratory research in the U.K centres on the development of model systems to study respiratory co-infection and pathogen-pathogen interactions in the respiratory tract. We are also engaged in molecular epidemiology and genomics research studying infectious disease transmission and the evolution of quasi-species.


HerpeZ is committed to capacity development and in particular, the creation of career development opportunities for Zambian and other African scientists through it's links with the UNZA-UCLMS Mentorship Programme.


On the PANDORA project HerpeZ is primarily involved with delivering Work Package 2, developing training materials and organizing training workshops for first responders in all four Africa regions, as well as developing mobile lab capacity in Zambia and the Republic of Congo. HerpeZ is also involved in clinical surveillance and animal health work packages.

Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

The role of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in PANDORA project hinges on the established infrastructures and trained health workers for the laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of Lassa fever and other viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) over the years. There is therefore a readiness to deliver on the following:


  1. Capacity for training and establishing mobile laboratories for field deployment in outbreak situations in Africa

In 2014, with assistance of the European commission, a mobile PCR laboratory unit for molecular diagnosis of VHFs was established alongside the existing stationary laboratory at Irrua Specialist teaching hospital, Nigeria. The mobile laboratory unit has a staff complement of at least 18 personnel with skills and competencies to work in emergencies/ field situations in the event of an outbreak of Ebola, Lassa fever or any other highly infectious diseases with epidemic potential. During the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and later in Sierra Leone (2014 – 2016), the mobile laboratory was deployed to the field and supported immensely in reducing delays between clinical suspicions and commencement of clinical management. Therefore one of the expected roles of the Nigeria Mobile laboratory unit will be to facilitate through onsite training the development and establishment of similar mobile laboratory capacities in at least 2 other sub regions in Africa (Eastern and central Africa).


2. A site for training of clinicians, nurses, laboratory personnel, etc

Based on the existing infrastructures and clinical services, Irrua Specialist Teaching hospital has conducted several national training of health workers in molecular diagnostics, clinical management of VHF patients including management of wastes and infection prevention and control practices both onsite and other settings. Health workers from the Africa region can therefore be similarly trained in the management of VHFs. This also provides opportunity for young African and European academicians/researchers (Masters and PHD students) to use the facilities for their research work/ field experience/practicum.


3.A potential site for field trials of novel therapeutics and vaccines

The high number of Lassa fever survivors and patients in endemic communities presents a ready opportunity for testing promising vaccines and therapeutics. A building by the German foreign office serving as training center for clinicians and conducting trials has just being completed in June 2018.

Ifakara Health Institute

Overview

Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) is a world-class research organization in Africa, with a strong track record in developing, testing and validating innovations for health that save lives. The Institute’s mission is to improve people’s health and wellbeing through research, training and services. IHI scientists work across biomedical & ecological sciences, interventions & clinical trials, health-systems and policy. Registered in Tanzania as an independent non-profit outfit, the Institute’s history dates back to 1956 when it was established as a field laboratory in Ifakara, Morogoro Region. IHI has a coordination office in Dar es Salaam and two major branches in Bagamoyo and Ifakara – the Institute’s original birth place.


History

The beginning: A visit to Ifakara by zoologist Dr. Rudolf Geigy from Switzerland in 1949 marked the beginning of over 50-year history of IHI. Geigy [1920-1995], a scientist from the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, sought a fieldwork location for researching on tropical diseases. Eight years later, he opened the Swiss Tropical Institute Field Laboratory (STIFL) there. The name “Ifakara” refers to “a place you go to die”, a reflection of the historically high burden of disease in the area, before major control efforts started.


Transformation: In the years after the 1961 independence, STIFL played a central role in training medical officers who could serve the country after independence. The government mandated STIFL to play the role through the Rural Aid Centre, which was designed to undertake the assignment.

Tanzania adopted the nationalization policy in 1970s which championed transferring of public institutions into the hands of Tanzanians. The policy set the stage for the integration of STIFL into a government agency – National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in 1990. The following year, STIFL was renamed ‘Ifakara Centre’ and made an affiliate of NIMR. In 1996, it was made a trust and renamed, ‘Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC). This name lasted until 2008 when it was changed to the current one of ‘Ifakara Health Institute.’


Flowering era: From the 1990s onward, IHI received an influx of funding and prestigious awards for excellence in health research. In 2008, it received the Prince of Asturias Award – a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Prince of Asturias Foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the fields of sciences, humanities and public affairs. The aim is to encourage and promote scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind’s universal heritage. In 2010, IHI received the (Tanzania) National Award for Science and Technology.


New Era: The first Tanzanian science director, Dr. Andrew Kitua, was appointed in 1993. His successors: Dr. Hassan Mshinda and Dr. Salim Abdulla, built strong teams that took the institute to the high level of excellence, extending operations of the institute to other regions.

In 2009, the institute extended its wings by opening a new branch in the Tanzania’s colonial era capital, Bagamoyo. And three years later, in 2012, Kingani Training Center and Clinical Trials facilities were built. The sitting Chief Executive Director, Dr. Honorati Masanja, was appointed in 2016.


IHI role in PANDORA

In the PANDORA-ID-NET consortium project, IHI co-lead work page 6 which is on data collection, collation, analysis, integration, sharing and reporting. In collaboration with UCL-UK, IHI plans:

  • To develop and or adapt existing database platform for data collection, collation, sharing and analysis to inform disease outbreak management.
  • To create a mechanism of real time data sharing for diseases outbreak from existing platforms.
  • To form a mechanism for rapid data sharing with national and supranational partners such as African Centres for Disease Control.
  • To develop a harmonized and adaptable databases to allow rapid sharing of high quality clinical trials data and biological samples across sites.
  • Build a platform to handle large clinical trials, surveillance and biological samples data from consortium members and associate programmes.

In collaboration with other institutions, IHI will participate in epidemiology, surveillance, clinical and pathogenesis studies: Procedures standardization, inter-epidemic and baseline research development (work package 3), Zoonotic ‘ONE HEALTH’ interface & natural history studies (work 4), Capacity development & training (work package 2) and other work packages. The final goal of IHI involvement in PANDORA-ID-NET consortium project is to ensure the key goals of the project are achieved.