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NIHR 134694 Kicks-off Project Year 2 Starting Research in the Field in Africa

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

The NIHR Global Health Research Group on Digital Diagnostics for African Health Systems is poised to enter the second year of its ambitious and groundbreaking project. With a vision to transform healthcare access and improve diagnostics in African healthcare settings, this initiative promises to reshape the health landscape on the continent.

Year 1 Milestones

The first year of the project was marked by the set up of a large consortium comprising 16 organisations based in 8 different countries, and most importantly by the start of fully-funded PhD Traineeships within these organizations for a cohort of 10 African PhD Students, selected in June 2022 amongst nearly 600 applicants within a highly competitive selection process. A summary of the research (Sub-Projects) they are conducting under the Supervision of Members of the Research Group, cut across by six different Work-Packages, can be found at this link:

The Year 2 Annual Meeting

Year 2 of the project started with great anticipation and excitement, evident during the 2-day online meeting held in September 2023. The primary focus of this event was to evaluate the progress made in the previous year and set the direction for the upcoming phases of the project. Work-Package Leads and Students had an opportunity to present updates on their respective workstreams and research projects, sharing valuable insights and lesson learned during the initial year of the project, and emphasising adaptability and the ability to address challenges.

The meeting was a preparatory moment for the Project Year 2 which will see research in the field and Community Engagement and Involvement activities taking place in The Gambia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Sudan and Zambia.

External Collaborations

During its first year, the NIHR Global Health Research Group also fostered partnerships with various important external organizations to ensure that the project's solutions are aligned with the realities on the ground and with policies. The group has established successful collaborations with Speak Up Africa, University of Glasgow, Africa CDC (Connected Diagnostics), Malaria No More UK, the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD), and the United Nations (UNGA Science Summit).

The NIHR Research Group has expanded on the pre-existing DIDA Network to share learning with other projects working in the digital health and development ecosystem, and a meeting was hold in July 2023 with 50 participants from diverse organisations, including many from outside our GHRG.

In February 2023 a large 3-day stakeholder engagement meeting (125 participants) was organized at WACCBIP at University of Ghana, establishing key relations for Community, Engagement and Involvement and policymaking activities for digital diagnostics in Ghana.

Year 2 of the Project has just started and will unfold research in the fields for all the PhD Projects, informing the development of advanced digital diagnostics prototype and user interface.

Fig.1 An image of the NIHR GHRG Research Group at the West African Centre for Cell Biology and Infectious Pathogens at University of Ghana, in February 2023.

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