GSK launches first call for proposals for research in to non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — GSK (http://www.gsk.com) today launched the first call for proposals for its Africa NCD Open Lab, to support much-needed scientific research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa. Up to £4m will be available in this first funding round, to support successful proposals from researchers in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

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The Africa NCD Open Lab was established by GSK earlier this year, with a commitment of £25m funding over five years, as part of a series of strategic investments in sub-Saharan Africa. In this region, and across developing countries, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, are becoming more prevalent, and we need to learn more about how – and why – these diseases manifest differently in this setting. The Africa NCD Open Lab aims to address this through the creation of an innovative research network that will see GSK scientists collaborate with researchers across Africa on high quality epidemiological, genetic and interventional research, from its hub at GSK’s Stevenage R&D facility in the UK. The aim is that this will specifically inform interventions for the prevention and treatment of five priority diseases – cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic respiratory disease – while helping build local expertise and creating a new generation of African NCD experts.

This builds on the success of GSK’s Open Lab in Tres Cantos, Spain which provides independent researchers access to GSK facilities, resources and knowledge to help them advance their own research projects into diseases of the developing world such as malaria, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis. Since the Tres Cantos Open Lab was established, 15 projects from world class institutions have been completed, progressing much needed research into diseases of the developing world.

An independent external advisory group, comprising clinical and scientific experts in the field of NCDs, will review applications to the NCD Open Lab, with recommendations for funding based on scientific merit. The group will consist of a majority African membership to ensure that only locally-relevant research is funded.

A second call for proposals in South Africa is planned for early in 2015 which will be launched in collaboration with the Medical Research Councils of South Africa and the UK, with a combined £5m funding.

Dr. Mike Strange, Interim Head of the Africa NCD Open Lab, said: “We believe the highly collaborative research network we’re creating through the Africa NCD Open Lab has the potential to dramatically improve understanding of NCDs in Africa – and could ultimately, accelerate the development of new, better medicines to treat these.

“The launch of our first call for proposals is an important milestone for this initiative, and we encourage researchers working in the field of NCDs who are based in the eight eligible countries to consider applying for the funding and expert support available to them through this.”

For more information, or to submit a research idea for consideration, please visit http://www.gsk.com/africa-ncd-openlab.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Notes to editors

• GSK (http://www.gsk.com) has a long history in the developing world, including the development and trial of new vaccines for malaria and Ebola. Its vaccines are included in immunisation campaigns in 170 countries worldwide and of the 862 million vaccine doses delivered in 2013, more than 80% were shipped for use in developing countries.

• In 2015, GSK will donate its five billionth tablet of albendazole to treat intestinal worms and lymphatic filariasis – part of the company’s long-term commitment to tackle neglected tropical diseases which affect people in the world’s poorest countries.

• GSK has formed a ground-breaking five-year partnership with Save the Children, to help save the lives of one million children living in the poorest countries in Africa. The partnership combines the resources and capabilities of two organisations to help bring medicines and vaccines to some of the world’s poorest children, train thousands of healthcare workers, and seek to alleviate child malnutrition.

• In March 2014, GSK announced a series of targeted investments of up to £130m in Africa over the next five years, designed to address pressing health needs and contribute to long-term business growth.

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Categories: AFRICA

Mainstreaming Migrant Health in Kenya

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM this week organized a two-day national consultative forum to address health challenges facing the migrant community in Kenya.

The workshop, organized in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Kenyan Ministry of Health, is the second of its kind and provided a platform to discuss governance, policy, strategic direction, coordination and inclusiveness in health policy and service delivery.

Attendees included representatives from the government, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, UN organizations and development partners.

Kenya is a major transit country for migrants from the East and Horn of Africa travelling south to South Africa or north to the Middle East and Europe. Many of the migrants are undocumented and often face a number of social, legal and economic challenges, such as immigration status and language barriers, that deter them from accessing vital health-care services.

The meeting sought to promote dialogue that will help the government and development partners to include migrants in mainstream national health policies and strategies.

Since Kenya’s first national consultation held in May 2011, various milestones have been achieved. These include the creation of a Technical Working Group by the Ministry of Health to spearhead the migrant health agenda and an analysis of the legal and policy framework on migration and health in Kenya (2013). This has resulted in government ownership of the need to provide more migrant-friendly health services.

Other achievements include a study on health vulnerabilities of urban migrants in the greater Nairobi that provided strategic information for monitoring migrants’ health; and the launch of a National Strategy on HIV/AIDS and STI Combination Prevention Along Transport Corridors.

Categories: AFRICA

IOM Hands over Displacement Tracking Matrix to Mali

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM and Mali’s Ministry of Solidarity, Humanitarian Affairs and Reconstruction in the North have signed an agreement to formalize the handover of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme to the government.

Following the 2012 crisis in Mali and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, IOM started the programme in close collaboration with the government. It was designed to provide up-to-date information on movements of internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees, as well as on the needs of people affected by the conflict.

At its peak in June 2013, the DTM registered and identified 353,000 IDPs in the country. This has now fallen to 86,000, due to people returning home. A recent survey of IDP households revealed that 69 per cent would now like to return home, while 28 per cent have decided to stay in their place of displacement. Most IDP households (52 per cent) said that they need food aid.

The DTM team is composed of 120 members of the National Directorate for Social Development (Direction Nationale du Développement Social), the General Directorate of Civil Protection (Direction Générale de la Protection Civile) and IOM, who are deployed in all regions of Mali.

The DTM assessments include the registration of IDPs in the south, location assessments for IDPs and returnees in the north, return intention surveys, and needs assessments in areas of return. In addition, flow monitoring points in Bamako, Mopti, Gao and Timbuktu track IDP movements throughout the country and identify the most vulnerable people.

The handover of the DTM programme consists of transferring the data collection process and analysis to the National Directorate for Social Development, together with the DTM equipment. The programme received support from USAID, ECHO, the Government of Japan and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Categories: AFRICA

Say No to Trafficking: Youth Dialogue on Child Migration in Uganda

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM and the Institute for International Co-operation and Development will tomorrow (15/11) organize a youth dialogue on child migration to raise awareness of child trafficking in Karamoja in Uganda.

In Uganda, child victims of trafficking can be found begging on the streets of most urban centres. They come mainly from Karamoja, a remote region in the northeast of the country. Children are typically forced to beg from morning to night, malnourished and abused. Few are ever rescued or reintegrated.

Some 150 students from high schools in sub-counties with a high prevalence of child migration are expected to attend the youth dialogue. Some 19 per cent of households in these sub-counties reported having at least one child who migrated to an urban area, according to an IOM report.

The dialogue is expected to improve the students’ understanding on safe migration and how to prevent child trafficking. At the dialogue IOM will encourage high schools to integrate migration issues into their curricula.

Since 2011, IOM Uganda has changed the lives of 179 trafficked Karamajong children forced to beg on the streets of city centres. The youth dialogue on child migration from Karamoja is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Categories: AFRICA

IOM Opens Agadez Transit Centre in Niger Desert

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has opened its fourth Niger transit and assistance center for migrants in the Saharan city of Agadez. The new center will normally accommodate up to 400 people, but will be able to host up to 1,000 in periods of crisis.

Agadez is one of the main migratory crossroads for irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa trying to reach Europe through Libya or Algeria.

An estimated 40,000 and 80,000 migrants transit annually through Niger, including Niger nationals and migrants from other West African countries including Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

Sub-Saharan migrants expelled from Libya and Algeria are also often sent back home through Niger. In 2013, over 18,000 expelled migrants arrived in northern Niger. IOM Niger assisted 9,300 of the most vulnerable.

In Niger IOM has provided emergency and life-saving humanitarian assistance to expelled migrants, including registration, accommodation, food, medical care, psychological support, basic non-food items and transportation to their place of origin since 2011.

It launched its operations at the peak of the Libyan crisis with funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF).

The new Agadez transit center, which is funded by the Italian Ministry of Interior and supported by the Niger government, will reinforce IOM Niger’s capacity to help the most vulnerable stranded migrants.

IOM currently operates transit centers at Dirkou on the Libyan border, Arlit on the Algerian border and in the capital, Niamey, where migrants wait for their documents to travel to their countries of origin.

“This new facility will help us not only to better assist migrants, but also to establish a dialogue on the dangers of irregular migration with the thousands of migrants transiting to Agadez. They are often victims of disinformation,” said IOM Niger Chief of Mission Giuseppe Loprete.

Categories: AFRICA

IOM Welcomes Egypt’s First Information, Counselling and Referral Service Office

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower and Emigration and the Governor of Qalyoubia governorate this week inaugurated the country’s first Information Counselling and Referral Service (ICRS).

The ICRS will be part of Egypt’s Public Employment Services Office and aims to bolster youth employment by providing skill enhancement opportunities, job placement services and business start-ups in areas with high levels of outward and irregular migration.

The initiative is part of an ongoing three-year, EUR 9.9 million European Union-funded IOM project: “Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya (START).”

Categories: AFRICA