A Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research and Training In Africa
TESA II PROJECT SUMMARY:
What is TESA II?
Trials of Excellence in Southern Africa (TESA) consortium which is a continuation of the TESA I. TESA I was founded by a group on 9 institutions from 6 different under the phase 1 EDCTP framework. This TESA I consortium aimed to build capacity and strengthen less established institutions, including infrastructure for conducting clinical trials in the fields of HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, training and mentorship programs which ultimately would improve the capacity of clinical research among participant institutions. The TESA I network used the EDCTP funds to establish a management structure for research and finance management within the Southern African region. The network continued with a broad based approach to build and strengthen the clinical research capacity and infrastructure at each of the nine partner sites. The key success of the network lies in providing on-going short courses and training opportunities to hundreds of students and research personnel as well as mentorship and supervising of long term post doctorate, PhD and MSc/MPhil students and their engagement in one or multi-site baseline studies on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. In TESA II, the network increased to 13 institutions from 8 different African and 3 European countries came together to strengthen and enhance the capacities for clinical research in Southern Africa built during TESA 1, as well as increasing the collaboration and networking activities of the consortium. To achieve this, TESA II consortium focuses on strengthening the capacities among partner sites, promoting professional development and scientific leadership and fostering collaborations to maximize impact. It strives to develop specific activities aiming to increase researchers critical mass devoted to health, develop first class institutions engaging clinical trials to prevent poverty-related diseases and promote dialogue between researches, communities and policy makers.
Who are the 13 institutions forming the TESA II consortium
African partners: Manhiça Health Research Center, CISM (Mozambique), University of Cape Town, UCT, Stellenbosch University, SUN (South Africa); Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership, BHP (Botswana); University Teaching Hospital/School of Medicine and Tropical Diseases Research Centre, UTHZ (Zambia); Blantyre Health Research and Training Trust, BHRTT (Malawi) University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, UZCHS, and Biomedical Research Institute, BRTI (Zimbabwe); Health Research Centre of Angola, CISA (Angola), University of Namibia, UNAM (Namibia) and ITR European Partners: Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal (Spain), Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, AIGHD, (The Netherlands) and University College of London, UCL, (United Kingdom)
The Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) TESA II Team
The following form part of the BRTI TESA II team
Dr. Junior Mutsvangwa-The BRTI TESA II Principal Investigator (PI)
Dr. Shungu Munyati-The BRTI TESA II Technical Advisor
Dr Agness Farai Nhidza-Manjoro-The BRTI TESA II Coordinator
Mr Simon Chigeza-The BRTI Information Communication Technology (ICT) Officer
Ms Herculena Ramjee-BRTI Finance Supervisor who assists with TESA budget although not supported from TESA II funds.
OVERALL AIM: the overall aim of the TESA II project is to develop, strengthen and expand clinical research capacities in the Southern Region of Africa, through the consolidation of the TESA node of excellence, for conducting clinical trials with the highest research standards on those infectious diseases responsible for the highest morbidity and mortality in the region.
To strengthen collaboration and optimize the use of resources and infrastructures within the network.
To offer training and mentorship aimed at promoting professional development and scientific leadership in clinical trials.
To strengthen South-South and North-South collaborations between researchers and institutions with a specific focus on supporting less established institutions in building capacity for conducting high quality clinical research.
To encourage and promote networking and dialogue between researchers, communities and policy makers to maximize the impact of clinical research in Africa.
Summary of activities achieved for the year per work package
TESA II activities are divided into 3 work packages (WP) which in this document are designated as WP1, WP2 and WP3. The following is what BRTI has done so far with regards each work package
WP1: Mechanisms for research coordination and knowledge exchange within Network established
BRTI operational plan (OP), linked to the BRTI TESA II budget, has been developed and circulated to the TESA node
BRTI M&E log frame developed and circulated to the TESA node
Drs. Junior Mutsvangwa (TESA II PI) and Shungu Munyati (TESA II TA), attended the TESA II start up meeting in Maputo from the 30th of October to the 1st of Nov 2017
Drs. Junior Mutsvangwa (TESA II PI) and Shungu Munyati (TESA II TA)attended the Steering Meeting on the 17th of Nov 2017 in Johannesburg (Garden Court-OR Tambo Airport)
WP2: Delivered capacity building opportunities for Network researchers
Procurement-BRTI managed to procure laboratory and ICT equipment through the TESA II budget. Furthermore, TESA II has also managed to pay its lab rentals to BRTI as per approved budget which through the project/BRTI management’s creativity has resulted in conversion of an office to a state of art Molecular Lab at BRTI.
Student Recruitment-Interviews for TESA interns were held and interns identified as follows; 2 MSc (Vongai Mildred Pepukai and Alfred Makura) and 1 PhD (Katherine Zvinoera), who are registered with local Universities.
Workshops –The BRTI TESA II is responsible for conducting some short courses to assist the region. It also supports its interns to attend some short courses arranged by the other TESA II consortium members. BRTI TESA II has so far funded its interns and the Coordinator to attend such courses as the 3 weeks Bioinformatics course held in Blantyre, Malawi from 9-27 July 2018(1 MSc student, Mildred Pepukai and the BRTI TESA coordinator, (Dr. Agness Farai Nhidza-Manjoro), Introduction to Biostatisics conducted by Botswana-Havard Partnership (BHP), in Botswana (I PhD student-Katherine Zvinoira) and the Systematic review workshop held in Harare by Cochrane South Africa, where all the TESA II interns and the Coordinator attended.
BRTI TESA II also provided a 3 day workshop on ‘Quality Systems Management Accreditation in a Research Organization: The BRTI Perspective’, which was held on 15-17August 2018 at the BRTI, Harare, Zimbabwe. This workshop was attended by 9 participants: 3 Malawi,1 CISM (Mozambique),1 BRTI (Zimbabwe),1 CVL(Zimbabwe), 2 IDRL (Zimbabwe) and 1 AIBST (Zimbabwe).
WP3: Policy relevant research results disseminated to key stakeholders
The research results will be disseminated to the relevant stakeholders as they come.
BRTI intends to replace TB short course by Geographical Information Systems training and to support UCT with TB training facilitators to avoid duplication of activities and maximise on available resources. The GIS training has been scheduled for 4-8 February 2019. To maximise expertise within the region, there will be 2 short courses that will be conducted in collaboration with Blantyre Health Research Training Trust (BHRTT). The courses are namely the originally BHRTT conducted Bioinformatics to be jointly held in Zimbabwe at BRTI and the originally Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) conducted Quality Management System course to be jointly conducted at BHRTT in Malawi. The dates for these 2 short courses are yet to be announced. The BRTI TESA II will also continue to support its interns and BRTI TESA team to attend other future training courses within the consortium.
Identification of disease component BRTI experts who are to collaborate and contribute to the writing of TESA network joint research protocols in TB, HIV and Malaria. Profs Mharakurwa (Malaria), Prof Katzenstein & Dr Manasa (HIV) and Drs Mutsvangwa and Tadokera (TB). The Malaria group has already been in contact with Prof Mharakurwa. The HIV and TB groups are still to make their plan and hope to do so in Q3 of year 2 of the project.
Participating in coming up with harmonised protocol for data sharing within the consortium and also addressing the ethical issues the enable sharing of biological samples in particular for joint researches. LT Research Institute in collaboration with BRTI have developed tools to compile the various partner countries specific ethical requirements.
1. ISO 15189 training workshop
ISO 15189 training
2. GPS & GIS Training Workshop
A Tool For Analyzing, Mapping and Visualizing Health Data and Information
Course Dates: 4th to 8th of February 2018
The importance and potential uses of Geographic Information System (GIS) and modern technologies in any organization cannot be under-emphasized, particularly looking at the rate at which technological advancements are progressing.