Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Research Training at Aga Khan University

The Challenge
Infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) continue to be a major problem and cause of increased morbidity and mortality. Many LMICs not only bear the burden of increasing non-communicable diseases (NCD) and HIV but are also the sites for emerging infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases. Infectious diseases continue to have an impact on productivity and development and greater understanding is needed around pathogens and their transmission. There are not enough scientists and health professionals with relevant ID research expertise.

Aga Khan University (AKU) has multiple locations and campuses throughout the world with a specific emphasis on supporting research and training in LMICs including East Africa where campuses have been established in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. In 2016, an Infectious Diseases Fellowship was inaugurated at AKU in Nairobi, Kenya as the first of only two Infectious Diseases fellowships offered in the East African region. The two-year fellowship program admits individuals from East Africa who have completed their MMed degree in Internal Medicine and is a foundation for African medical doctors interested in pursuing research in infectious diseases.

Project Goals
This program is designed to: 1) strengthen the capacity of AKU in East Africa to conduct infectious disease research in human papillomavirus (HPV); 2) build sustainable HPV research capacity at AKU that is directly relevant to the health priorities of the region; and 3) create a critical mass of scientists and health research professionals at AKU to conduct independent, internationally-recognized HPV research.

Our Approach
This program proposes to train students in HPV research in three different tracks of varying duration. The first is a long-term track offered to Infectious Diseases (ID) fellows at AKU who wish to pursue a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Washington (UW). The medium-term track offers an opportunity for AKU faculty who wish to pursue research to attend epidemiology and biostatistics classes at the UW over one quarter and return to East Africa to engage in a mentored research proposal. The short-term track is composed of one-week workshops to be conducted in Nairobi, Kenya as well as online courses that target AKU faculty, fellows, residents, and student who are interested in research.

Funding
This program is funded by a D43 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center.

To Apply
For more information on how to apply please email norah.matheka@aku.edu