UVRI and LSHTM Unveils State-of-the-Art Facility to Enhance Clinical Research in Uganda

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The new Clinical Research Facility in Entebbe; Courtesy Photo

Entebbe Uganda: The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit unveiled a state-of-the-art clinical research facility in Entebbe to support successful conduct of clinical studies that can make significant contributions to science, policy and practice in Uganda.

The facility commissioning ceremony on Friday 5 May, 2022, was presided over by the Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health and attended by Her Excellency Kate Airey OBE, the British High Commissioner to Uganda and Prof Liam Smeeth, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Facility is one of the bases of the Unit clinical research and trials platform established by the Unit. The Facility was funded by the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation focused on health research based in London, in the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom Research and Innovation/Medical Research Council. The solar-powered facility will be used to conduct clinical research in infectious and non-communicable diseases.

It will also support sharing of expertise and experiences among researchers in Africa through training; and facilitate the development of best practices in the management and conduct of clinical trials.

The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit has over 30 years’ experience in conducting clinical research and trials. This research comprises a range of studies that involve interactions with patients, research participants and surrounding communities to understand disease mechanisms and natural history; translational research; diagnosis, prevention and therapeutic intervention trials; health services research; and epidemiological studies.

The Unit has developed strong clinical research expertise and infrastructure across its research sites and Programmes. This includes experienced clinical research staff with training in Good Participatory Practice (GPP) guidelines, Human Subjects Protection (HSP), Good Clinical Research Practice (GCP), Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice (GCLP), and Advanced Life Support certification.

The new Research Clinics will have equipment to facilitate evaluation of research participants; Pharmacies with capacity to manage clinical trial investigational medicinal products (IMP); Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory facilities. There will be continued engagement with the communities through Participant Advisory Groups (PAGs) and Community Advisory Boards (CABs) to ensure strong linkages between the research teams, local communities, and other stakeholders.

Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute and Director of the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit while delivering his address said; “We are very excited about this development, this facility will provide opportunities to strengthen and expand our clinical research and training in order to contribute to improving the health of our people”

Prof Liam Smeeth the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said; “This is an outstanding facility which cements the Unit’s position as one of the leading research institutes in Africa. Combined with the Unit’s talented and dedicated staff, the new facility will be the catalyst for more vital research that will improve the lives of Ugandans and health of the continent.”

Her Excellency Kate Airey OBE, the British High Commissioner to Uganda in her remarks stated,

“This new facility is another sign of the commitment of the Government of the United Kingdom to partner with the Government of Uganda and scientists to find solutions through research that will lead to better health.”

While giving the keynote address, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health said;

“On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I wish to thank the Wellcome Trust and the UK MRC for funding this facility. This contribution builds on the long term support and partnership with the UK Government and the outstanding research the MRC Unit and UVRI have generated over the years. We pledge to play our part, together building a healthier nation.” she concluded.

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