Friday Newsletter
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Dear Centre Leaders,
In today's newsletter:
  • The Lancet at INDEPTH
  • Establishing the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: responding to Africa's health threats
  • ARPPIS-DAAD PhD scholarships for study at icipe, Kenya 
  • PhD fellowships in Biostatistics for 2017 Academic Year 
  • Iganga Mayuge HDSS and  drug regulatory authority  in pharmacovigilance study
  • Salt intake and health risk in climate change vulnerable coastal Bangladesh
1. The Lancet at INDEPTH
The Executive Editor of The Lancet Dr. Jocalyn Clark (3rd right) in a group photo at INDEPTH premises in Accra. She is flanked by INDEPTH staff (from left) David Mbulumi, Prof. Osman Sankoh (Executive Director), Felicia Manu, Dr. Martin Bangha and Margaret Bugase.
This week the INDEPTH Resource and Training Centre had a special visitor. On 24 January 2017 Dr. Jocalyn Clark, the Executive Editor of a top medical journal, The Lancet, visited INDEPTH offices in Accra, Ghana,  and was met by the Executive Director Prof. Osman Sankoh and other staff.

Dr. Clark, who is also a member of INDEPTH Scientific Advisory Committee formerly worked as an  Executive Editor at icddr,b, a research organisation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she also trained doctors in scientific writing and publication. 
Read more
2. Establishing the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: responding to Africa's health threats
On Jan 31, 2017, heads of states and governments of the African Union and the leadership of the African Union Commission will officially launch the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As detailed in the African Union's Africa Agenda 20631—a roadmap for the development of the continent—some of the concerns that justified the establishment and initiation of an Africa-wide public health agency include rapid population growth; increasing and intensive population movement across Africa, with increased potential for new or re-emerging pathogens to turn into pandemics; existing endemic and emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola;2 antimicrobial resistance;3 increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases and injuries;4 high maternal mortality rates; and threats posed by environmental toxins. In addition to these concerns, African countries are burdened with insufficient public health assets including surveillance, laboratory networks, competent workforce, and research expertise that hinder evidence-based decision-making.
How successful the Africa CDC becomes in its mission will be determined by its capacity to develop the right partnerships, including with the private sector to invest in public health as a public good, adopting innovative approaches, and mobilising adequate resources.
 Read more
3. ARPPIS-DAAD PhD scholarships for study at icipe, Kenya 
Deadline for applications: 12th February 2017 

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya, in partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD1) In-Country/In-Region Scholarships Programme and African university partners, invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for PhD scholarships in the African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Sciences (ARPPIS). 

The primary objective of ARPPIS is to prepare young researchers from Africa to compete in an internationally competitive research environment within national, regional and international research programmes. At icipe ARPPIS scholars are provided with excellent research facilities in an interdisciplinary environment within a structured, three-year PhD programme that includes research, training, developing research partnerships, and scientific meetings and international conferences. Scholars conduct their innovative research at icipe’s laboratories and at field sites located in various agro-ecological zones. Read more:   
3. Call for DELTAS Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics (SSACAB) PhD fellowships in Biostatistics for 2017 Academic Year
Deadline for applications: 31st March 2017

The Sub-Saharan African Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics (SSACAB) training, a consortium of twenty African and northern institutions with the University of the Witwatersrand as the lead; and KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programmes, Universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Northumbria University and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as co-applicants, has secured funding from the Wellcome Trust/AESA through the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS Africa). The full list of participating institutions is listed below. The funding will cover fellows undertaking a PhD programme in Biostatistics in participating training institutions to develop and improve biostatistical skills among researchers, with an ultimate goal of creating research nodes of excellence to grow the discipline and a biostatistical network to nurture researchers with advanced skills and expertise. The consortium is therefore calling for full time scholarship applications for PhD degrees. 
Read more:   
News from Centres
1. Iganga Mayuge HDSS and  drug regulatory authority  in pharmacovigilance study
A group photo of community leaders after the workshop.
The Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (IMHDSS) which is managed by Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research (MUCHAP) has partnered with the Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) to implement a community dialogue and sensitization campaign to improve reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions by patients and healthcare workers in Iganga and Mayuge districts community. The campaign was launched in December 2016 in Iganga town attended by district technical and political leadership, health managers and their healthcare teams, religious and cultural leaders, Sub-County leaders, drug shop operators, clinics, pharmacies and nurses in boarding schools from both Iganga and Mayuge.

The role of patients as key contributors in pharmacovigilance (drug safety monitoring) is now fully acknowledged globally (EU pharmacovigilance legislation mandates patient reporting). Where patient reporting is operational (EMEA and Netherlands), it has been identified to facilitate faster signal detection and current methods used in pharmacovigilance need to optimise use of the information reported from patients. This initiative will help provide information on the factors that drive patient reporting in our communities to guide NDA efforts towards improving patient involvement in drug safety monitoring, including the further development of a patient-specific form, development of a severity grading and evolution of the database structure and the signal detection methods. Read more
2. Chakaria HDSS:
Salt intake and health risk in climate change vulnerable coastal Bangladesh
High salt consumption is an important risk factor of elevated blood pressure. In Bangladesh about 20 million people are at high risk of hypertension due to climate change induced saline intrusion in water. A study was conducted in Chakaria, Bangladesh between April-June 2011 whose objective was to assess beliefs, perceptions, and practices associated with salt consumption in coastal Bangladesh.

In the study community people had low awareness of the risks associated with excess salt consumption and salt reduction strategies were not high in their agenda. The easy access to and low cost of salt as well as unrecognised presence of salt in drinking water has created an environment conducive to excess salt consumption. It is important to design general messages related to salt reduction and test tailored strategies especially for those at high risk of hypertension.
 Read more
Policy Engagement and Communications