Sunday, 08 October 2023

SANTHE receives $4.4 million USD to make further strides in African science

On the 1st of May 2023, Professor Thumbi Ndung’u, SANTHE Programme Director based at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa – in collaboration with SANTHE’s eight partner site principal investigators – was awarded an additional $4.4 million USD by the programme’s original funders to build on the success of the first SANTHE grant. This second tranche of funds, bestowed by Wellcome and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to the Science for Africa (SFA) Foundation based in Nairobi, Kenya, is funded through the Developing Excellence in Leadership Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa programme. DELTAS Africa II (2023 to 2026) supports 14 programmes in 75 institutions across 36 countries to address Africa’s greatest health challenges by supporting collaborations that contribute to science research, policy and practice, and stimulate science innovation and entrepreneurship across the continent.

During its previous funding phase, SANTHE made considerable progress in its mission to build a ground-breaking, collaborative tuberculosis (TB) and HIV scientific research capacity building programme. Advantageously, the renewal of the grant has provided the opportunity for further development of the programme, primarily the addition of HIV, TB and HIV/ART-associated morbidities, as well as emerging diseases like SARS-CoV-2, to the research programme to optimise overall prevention and improve treatment outcomes. New African collaborating sites have also been added to increase the diversity of training opportunities, trainees, and scientific expertise and opportunities for multi-site research activities. Furthermore, the funding has allowed for the reinforcement of quality trainee supervision and training with an emphasis on leadership development; better infrastructure to encourage more collaborative, transnational, pan-African research, and further strengthening research management support across all sites, among other programmatic improvements.

Under the DELTAS Africa programme, SANTHE will strive for scientific excellence through collaborative and cross-disciplinary research, aiming to inform better HIV and TB prevention strategies, improve treatment outcomes and understanding of the scope of HIV/ART-associated co-morbidities, and how they can be prevented or treated. Research will fall under the following thematic areas:

  • development of more effective HIV prevention strategies;
  • reduction of TB transmission;
  • development of strategies to mitigate long-term complications of HIV and/or ART including non-communicable diseases,
  • interaction of HIV-TB with COVID-19 and other emerging pathogens.
Professor Thumbi Ndung’u, SANTHE Programme Director based at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa, receives an award at the DELTAS Africa II launch at the Trademark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, March 14, 2023.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.