SABIITI RESEARCH GROUPResearch at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine
What is TWENDE
Twende: Let’s Go!
The University of St Andrews is delighted to announce the award of TWENDE, a 440,000 euro project funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). In Swahili, twende is a word used to encourage one another to move forward. Supported by the European Union, this project aims to understand and overcome the barriers to the implementation of better tuberculosis diagnostics. Tuberculosis is a chronic chest infection that kills nearly 2 million people worldwide every year. In a resource poor environment, diagnosis is difficult and it takes many months to get results back. New diagnostics are being developed but few have been implemented yet in the areas where people need them the most. TWENDE will create a platform to translate research innovations into policy and practice. It will focus on three East African countries, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, who are increasingly working together to solve their health problems.
The project will bring together seven institutions:
- the University of St Andrews (UK)
- the Makerere University College of Health Sciences (Uganda)
- the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (Tanzania)
- the Mbeya Medical Research Centre (Tanzania)
- the Kenya Medical Research Institute Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research
- the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC)
- CPAR Uganda Ltd, a development organisation dedicated to breaking the cycle of Uganda’s tuberculosis burden
TWENDE project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union
Dr Wilber Sabiiti and Prof Stephen Gillespie (University Of St Andrews) are leading the study, along with partners in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. They will work closely with the EAHRC and the national TB control programmes of each partner country.
- Evaluate the extent of the implementation of two WHO approved molecular diagnostics and explore how to implement the rapid MYcobacterial Treatment Response Assay (MYTRA) developed by the University of St Andrews.
- Assess the benefits of these methods to the health care system and gauge the attitude of health care staff and administrators to the funding of these tests.
- Seek both local and international avenues to unravel the impediments to a wider uptake of effective TB diagnostics
- Engage policy makers to accelerate the uptake of research innovations
- Build capacity by offering expert advice on policy formulation as well as equipping and training knowledge transfer officers and regional user groups (clinicians and laboratory technologists) in order to sustain the translation of research output to the public domain.
The impact of this study is expected to be far-reaching, with findings applicable not only to TB but to the entire health care system.
This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union.
The TWENDE team
Dr. Wilber Sabiiti BSc, MSc, PhD, Dip. Educ, is a Senior Research fellow in medicine at the University of St. Andrews. Sabiiti is a Ugandan with over eight years of international research experience in diagnostics and infectious disease mechanisms. Sabiiti led the first multi-site study evaluating novel molecular technique for rapid monitoring of tuberculosis treatment in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. He is the Principle investigator and lead researcher of the TWENDE Consortium.
Prof. Gibson Sammy KibikiMD, MMed, PhD is the Executive Secretary of the East African Health Research Commission of the East African Community. He is the founding Director of Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute. Prof. Kibiki has over 20 years of clinical practice, academics, research, and administration. He led successful international-standard research programmes on HIV, TB, Malaria, and NTDs at Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute. He is the TWENDE liaison with the institution of the East African Community.
Dr. Evans Amukoye MD, MMed (Paediatrics), is the Director of Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research and the Deputy Director of Research and Administration of Kenya Medical Research Institute. Dr. Amukoye has over 15 years experience of clinical practice in paediatrics and respiratory diseases research, with particular focus on TB. He is the national TWENDE Principle Investigator for Kenya.
BA, PGDipDevMgmt(Open), MScDevMgmt(Open) is Managing Director of CPAR Uganda Ltd, a development organisation. Owaraga is a cultural anthropologist and has over 24 years experience as a manager of significant rural development programmes. She is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative East Africa, a humanist activist and a founding thinker of the Kigo Thinkers, a Ugandan think tank. She is TWENDE’s social scientist, leading the qualitative research aspects.
Dr. Nyanda Elias Ntinginya MD, MSc, PhD Candidate, is the Head of TB and Emerging Diseases Research Programs at NIMR-Mbeya Medical Research Centre. Dr. Ntinginya has over 10 years of clinical practice experience and leading TB clinical research including the Multi-Arm Multi Stage (MAMS) for which he was national Principle Investigator for Tanzania. He is the TWENDE’s national Principle Investigator for Tanzania and leads TWENDE research in the Southern half of Tanzania.
Prof. Moses Joloba MD MSc PhD is Professor of Microbiology and the Dean of the School of Biomedical Sciences of the College of Health sciences Makerere University Kampala. He is also the Director for Uganda’s national TB reference laboratory and the WHO representative on diagnostics. Prof. Joloba has over 20 years clinical research experience with particular focus on TB diagnostics and clinical trials. He is TWENDE’s Co-national Principle Investigator for Uganda.
Prof. Blandina Theophil Mmbaga MD Mmed (paediatrics) PhD is the Director of Kilimanjaro Clinical research Institute and Co-Director of KCMC-Duke Research Collaboration. Prof. Mmbaga has over 15 years clinical practice experience and research leadership including IMPAACT research on HIV and TB at KCMC. She is TWENDE’s Co-National Principle Investigator of Tanzania and leads TWENDE research in the Northern half of Tanzania.
Dr. Alphonse Okwera MD, MMed, PhD Candidate, is the Head of the National TB referral Treatment Centre at Mulago Hospital and a Honorary Lecturer at the School of Biomedical sciences of the College of Health Sciences of Makerere University Kampala. Dr. Okwera has over 25 years experience of clinical practice and TB research and is leading studies by NIH/DAIDS, NIH/TBRU, NIH/CDC, CDC, WHO, CDC/TB among others. He is the TWENDE National Principle Investigator for Uganda.
Prof. Stephen H Gillespie MD, DSc, FRCP(Edin), FRCPath, is Sir James Black Professor of Medicine at University of St. Andrews. Prof. Gillespie is a consultant clinical microbiologist with over 30 years of developing infectious disease diagnostics, leading TB clinical trials and research collaboration within East Africa. He is Co-Principle Investigator and Senior Adviser to the TWENDE consortium on diagnostics and clinical aspects of TB.
Dr. Ewan D Chirnside BSc, PhD, is the Director of the Knowledge Transfer Centre of the University of St. Andrews. Chirnside has over 10 years experience of business development and knowledge transfer for Life Sciences. He is a member of the Association of University Research and Industrial Liaison, the Association of University Technology Managers, the Licensing Executives Society and is a keen golfer. He will help TWENDE to establish knowledge transfer centres at four TWENDE partner institutions in East Africa.