LSTM’s partnership with pharmaceutical giant GSK looking at the capacity of key African institutions to undertake research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has been given a special mention in the Access to Medicine Index 2016.
LSTM’s Capacity Research Unit (CRU) was mentioned in the Index, which analyses the top 20 researched-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low and middle income countries, as an example of good practice working with GSK’s Africa NCD Open Lab. The lab supports GSK staff based in the UK to collaborate with research and scientific centres in Africa to increase the understanding of NCDs affecting Africa.
LSTM’s CRU were asked to carry out an assessment of the strengths and gaps across numerous institutions with respect to their capacity for conducting research into NCDs. The work began by canvassing over 70 institutions with an online survey, the results of which were fed into the project. From those results GSK selected two institutions in Uganda and Tanzania for the team to visit to carry out an in-depth assessment. Lorelei Silvester, a research coordinator with LSTM’s CRU, was the lead on the project. She said: “CRU has developed a novel approach to strengthening research capacity which we have implemented in a wide range of settings. It enables us to look in-depth at where there are opportunities for improvement, examining the capacity of the institution’s research infrastructure as well as the individuals involved and the environment that the institution operates within nationally and internationally. This is then reviewed against indicators that have been developed from the global literature describing the optimum capacity, producing clear and measurable data on the institutions key capacity gaps.”
The partnership ran from 2015 to 2016 and the work undertaken by LSTM’s CRU will enable GSK to understand local skills gaps and capacity building needs that will guide its future activities under the Africa 2020 strategy.
You can learn more about this particular project and others undertaken by the CRU here.