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Building tuberculosis expertise in South Africa
Photo by David Rochkind
South Africa has a high rate of TB but lacks the
expertise necessary to combat the disease. A
Fogarty-funded project supports research training
through a consortium of South African and U.S.
Photo by David Rochkind
Fogarty-supported trainees like Nomsa Moloi learn to
use florescent direct microscopy to look for TB on a
slide of a patient's sputum.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world but lacks an adequate pool of experienced researchers and clinicians trained to cope with the disease. Diagnostics and health services needed to address TB in low-resource settings are also in short supply. Since 2007, Fogarty has supported the
South African Tuberculosis AIDS Training Program (SATBAT) to help close these gaps by training senior and junior researchers to tackle TB and HIV issues relevant to South Africa.
The consortium includes the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, in addition to Johns Hopkins University and University of North Carolina in the U.S.
The initiative has identified talented South Africans for training and mentoring in-country and in the U.S., funding them for preliminary research after completion of their studies and helping them establish independent careers in South Africa.
Trainees have contributed to research projects in the areas of disease surveillance, pediatrics, maternal health and HIV/TB coinfection, as well as implementation studies regarding new diagnostic tests that may help counter future epidemics of drug-resistant strains of TB.
The program bolsters South Africa's health services and operations capacity - identified as one of the main reasons behind the country's failure to meet its tuberculosis control targets - by providing training for government and NGO staff members through short term experiences in TB research, grants management, bioethics and basic epidemiology.
The project is intended to eventually transition into a sustainable, independent training program that won't require U.S. investigator input or oversight.
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