October 30, 2023

SBS Trains African Healthcare Researchers in the SINDOFO Consortium Management Training Development Programme

Juliet Hinga

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Between October 23rd and 27th, 2023, Strathmore University Business School embarked on a training Programme for African healthcare researchers, a Programme that brought together healthcare researchers from various African nations — Kenya, Burkina Faso, Gabon, as well as global collaborators from Germany, Mozambique, and Uganda. This Programme, dubbed the SINDOFO Consortium Management Training Development Programme, focused on a critical mission — the development of a single-dose therapy for malaria.

For the last two decades, the Arthemisini-based combination therapy (ACT) has been the standard treatment for malaria, administered over a three-day period. However, real-world efficacy has been compromised due to several factors. The incomplete administration of the prescribed treatment, even with adequate knowledge and resources, has limited the effectiveness of ACT. While highly efficient in sub-Saharan Africa, delayed emergence of molecular resistance markers has necessitated the quest for a new, safe, and effective treatment, leading to the concept of a single-dose therapy for uncomplicated malaria, a goal shared by SINDOFO.

SINDOFO, a consortium committed to addressing this need, aims to develop a new non-ACT-based antimalarial drug combination with a shortened, ideally single-dose regimen. This pursuit is geared towards reducing morbidity and mortality caused by malaria, especially among the most vulnerable group — children under the age of 5 in Africa, who account for two-thirds of malaria-related deaths in 2019.

The consortium’s primary focus is on a phase II multi-center clinical trial across four African sites: CERMEL in Gabon, FM-CISM in Mozambique, Ahero in Kenya, and CNRST-IRSS in Burkina Faso. Capacity building, including infrastructure enhancement and staff training in areas such as GCP and GCLP, EC, Scientific Writing, Research Management, Quality Management, and Leadership, is an integral part of the initiative. Targeted participants for these capacity development programs include PhD students, Post Docs, Quality Managers, Study Coordinators, Study Staff, Principal Investigators, Internal Monitors, and Laboratory Leads.

Beyond the clinical trial sites in the four countries, the consortium collaborates with partners in Germany (EKUT, Tubingen), Spain (IS-Global), Switzerland (MMV), and India (Zydus Life Sciences).

The overarching objective of this research is to save sub-Saharan Africa from poverty-related infectious diseases by ensuring a high-performing health system. The implementation of a novel Fluoroquinolone (FQ)-based combination therapy to treat malaria in African children is a key target. The journey to achieving this goal emphasizes adherence to the right processes and a system-level approach, linking inputs to service delivery outputs and outcomes.

In addressing the challenge of healthcare in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the need to consistently do the right thing with the right mindset, competence, attitude, timing, methodology, and reach. By following these guidelines, a sustainable and effective health system can be established in Africa, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes and impacting the lives of millions.

Article by Juliet Hinga

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