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Looking back 10 years and looking forward 5 years - as the INDEPTH Executive Director marks 10th anniversary (2007-2017)

INDEPTH reports annual progress of the Network to our stakeholders using a logframe of strategic objectives and specific indicators of those objectives. The following are highlights of achievements and challenges by strategic objective over the 10-year period, 2007 to 2017, as Professor Osman Sankoh completes a decade in office as Executive Director.

Objective 1: To strengthen the capacity of INDEPTH member centres to conduct longitudinal health and demographic studies
Summary: In the last ten years, INDEPTH has raised and invested more than US $3 million to train low- and middle-income country (LMIC) data scientists, greatly strengthening the capacity of those working in LMIC settings to conduct high quality health and demographic  research. It has also improved the quality of data produced by member centres of the Network by harmonising data management systems and making data available not just across the Network but publicly on the web. And as well as continuing to ensure a high rate of scientific publications by member centres, INDEPTH has supported its member centres to publish over 30 cohort profiles in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
For the specific indicators that present the achievements for INDEPTH’s capacity strengthening strides, please click here.
Objective 2: To stimulate, co-ordinate and conduct cutting-edge multicentre health and demographic research
Summary: In the past decade, INDEPTH working groups have continued to conduct high quality research in cutting edge areas such as adult health and ageing, migration and urbanisation, vaccinations and child survival, maternal and child health, effectiveness and safety studies of antimalarials, universal health coverage, social determinants of health, genomic studies, climate change and health, health systems, sexual and reproductive health, cause of death determination, communicable and non-communicable diseases, education, and antibiotic resistance. The number of multi-site projects has continued to increase, while INDEPTH Scientific Conferences have attracted high-level policy-makers, scientists and journal editors from across the world

For the specific indicators that present the achievements in this area of work, please click here. 
Objective 3: To facilitate the translation of INDEPTH findings to maximise impact on policy and practice
Summary: The last decade has seen the publication of a number of systematic reviews of member centres’ research, synthesizing the results of hundreds of studies on topics such as maternal health, malaria, HIV/AIDS and nutrition. The profile of the Network has been raised via participation in international forums, the dissemination of policy briefs to decision-makers and increased collaboration both with governments in the countries where member centres operate and with global bodies such as the World Health Organisation, UNECA, NEPAD.

For the specific indicators that present the achievements in our policy engagement work, please click here.
Objective 4: To maintain the Network as one, ensure prudent financial management and seek financial sustainability of the Network
Summary: In the last decade, INDEPTH has expanded its network of member centres to more than 50 HDSS sites in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. It has maintained a transparent and accountable governance, with a credible and international Board of trustees and allowing its funders and other stakeholders to serve as checks and balances. In the last decade, INDEPTH has raised and directly managed over $19 million in core support and over $25 million in project support from a range of international donors. In order to strengthen long-term sustainability, it has recently established the INDEPTH endowment fund and is now looking for philanthropists to assist the Network.
For the specific indicators that present the achievements our fundraising efforts, please click here.

Osman is grateful to many who have supported him and his team over the years. He paid tribute to his predecessor: “I was fortunate to take over the leadership of INDEPTH from Prof. Fred Binka, the 1st Executive Director, who provided a solid foundation on which I built the organisation in the last ten years.”

If given the opportunity, Osman would like to use 100 pages to express gratitude to his team, the Board, the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), centre leaders, leaders of INDEPTH Groups (Strategic, Working, Interest), Project Leaders, funders, partners (parent institutions of our member centres and international institutions), young and senior scientists, consultants who have served INDEPTH in various capacities, colleagues, friends and family in the North and South.  He has asked us to allow him to say this:

“A big thank you to centre leaders, to the Board Chair Prof Tumani Corrah and his team, to the SAC Chair Prof Peter Byass and his team, and to past and current funders of the Network. I sincerely hope that we will continue to attract more funding for Network activities so that INDEPTH will continue to effectively pursue its vision and mission.”


Osman added: “Looking forward, we successfully developed a new strategy 2017-2021 for the SDGs using robust population data, as published in The Lancet Global Health in July 2017.”   

In line with this new strategy, the following INDEPTH projects are being implemented, while we continue to work hard to develop new projects: 

a)  ENAP (tracking progress towards the Every Newborn Action Plan), funded by CIFF through LSHTM (£1,000,000 over 3 years until 2018);

b)   ABACUS funded by Wellcome Trust (799,000 over 3 years until 2018);

c)   AWI-Gen (genomic study of body composition and cardiometabolic disease risk in African populations) funded by NIH ($5,000,000 over 5 years until 2022);

d)  iHOPE (out-of-pocket expenditures) funded by Gates Foundation ($2,230,000 over 3 years until 2018); and

e)   Enhancing Good Malaria Care funded by Comic Relief ($900,000 over 3 years until 2019).

We have core support from:

a)      Wellcome Trust until 2018 ($300,000);

b)      Hewlett Foundation until 2018 ($350,000); and

c)      A new 5-year application for 2017-2021 is being reviewed by Sida/Research Cooperation Unit

Policy Engagement and Communications