A Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research and Training In Africa

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Background & Objectives

The BRTI was registered in Zimbabwe in 1995 as a non-profit making organization under Section 22 of the Companies Act (Reg. No.1676/95). The Institute implements research projects and provides training and support services in public health, biomedicine and health research mostly focusing on HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and operational research. Its mission is to promote the health and quality of life of the peoples of Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa Development Community SADC region through fostering research, training and research informed interventions in all fields that are relevant to essential national health needs.

The main role of the BRTI is to provide the support that researchers in all aspects of health need to become effective in influencing policy.


1. Assist researchers in identifying sources of co-operation, collaboration and funding at national,   regional and international levels

2. Promote local consultants and researchers from amongst the scientific community to encourage  them to stay in the region and reduce the “brain drain” to developed nations

3. Support researchers to conduct effective and ethical research projects in the broad field of human  and veterinary health

4. Design and deliver training courses, conferences and seminars to strengthen the capacity of  laboratory scientists, researchers and research managers in the region

5. Promote networks for research collaboration and linkage with policy-makers in the region

6.Encourage government, industry and NGOs to facilitate the utilization of local research findings to  promote local investment in new products in medicine and new approaches to health delivery

The provision of sound policies for health service delivery depends critically on reliable information. Reliable information, whether epidemiological, biomedical, therapeutic, preventative or health service delivery, requires research. Research is therefore critical to an effective and affordable health service to address needs, especially in countries with limited resources. While much global funding is allocated to health research, the great majority is spent on studies in more developed countries. The Global Forum for Health Research publicized widely what has become known as “the10 – 90 gap”. There is little indication that this gap is narrowing and the control of funding for health research remains emphatically with wealthy nations. It is time for developing nations to take responsibility and prepare their own research agendas responsive to national and regional needs.


“The 10-90 gap” – 90% of global funding for health research is directed towards health problems of 10% of the world’s population.

The BRTI was founded, uniquely in Africa, as a totally independent institution with no direct funding from any governmental or non-governmental agency. This enables the BRTI to have sole responsibility for setting policies and agendas that are compatible with its mission – “to promote the health and well-being of the peoples of Southern Africa. “

Increasingly, developing countries have recognized the need to utilize their own resources towards their own research goals. It was in this spirit that the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) was established in Zimbabwe in 1995. From its inception, the BRTI was to be a sustainable project that was administered directly by scientists and managers working principally within southern Africa.

The BRTI recognizes that scientific personnel resources in Zimbabwe and the region are limited. For this reason there is a conscious policy not to employ large numbers of research staff. The philosophy is to support the research being carried out by personnel in national institutions and universities in the region. Through providing effective and professional research facilities the BRTI encourages development of their careers within that institution, thereby adding to capacity building at individual, institutional and national levels. To compete for scarce human resources in such a critical field would be of little benefit to anyone. Instead the BRTI offers the facilities it has to researchers who may need specific areas of support, for example the availability of a well-equipped TB Laboratory, that will enable them to complete their own research program.

We are always happy to welcome partners who can help in making our vision a reality.

The founding members of the BRTI Board were;

Prof. Stephen Chandiwana (Chairman)

Prof. Peter Mason (Director General)

Dr. Stephen Munjanja (Medical Director)

Prof. Patrick Kelly (Vetenary Director)

Prof. Gabriel Mwaluko (Research Director)

Prof. Clive Shiff (International Director)

During the last few years, Dr. Munjanja has retired owing to illness, Prof Mwaluko has returned to Tanzania, Prof. Shiff is with Johns Hopkins University in the US and Prof. Kelly is currently working in the Caribbean. Sadly Prof. Chandiwana and Prof. Mason have passed on but the legacy lines on.