Kumasi, Ghana (May 19, 2017)
Today, the first-ever grantees of the African Researchers' Small Grants program were announced by the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD). The winners, selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants, will receive support to conduct operational research to address issues facing efforts to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in their home countries of Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Togo.
"The Small Grants Program provides USAID with the opportunity to invest in young researchers and the next generation of leaders in Africa," said Emily Wainwright, Chief, Neglected Tropical Diseases Division, USAID.
John Amuasi, Executive Director for the ARNTD, said, “We are glad to partner with USAID and COR-NTD to promote research made in Africa. This is one of our core mandates as a network, and we invite others to come on board.”
Through this collaboration, the selected projects focus on all five of the NTDs treated via mass drug administration: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, and trachoma. Together, those infections affect more than one billion people worldwide, and are of particular concern on the African continent. The African Researchers' Small Grants Program underlines the growing cadre of African expertise in health, and the grantees' contributions will bring unique value to the fight against NTDs in their home countries as well as the African continent.
Collectively, the inaugural winners are well-positioned to strengthen the fight against NTDs, drawing upon their wealth of expertise in research, health, and science. The awardees' projects represent a range of important disease issues and the group is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who will bring unique perspectives. The African Researchers' Small Grants Program targets both junior- and senior-level researchers based at research institutions or universities in Africa.
The selected awardees and their projects are:
PhD Student, University of Agriculture, Makurdi
Investigation of possible ongoing Schistosoma hybridization in Nigeria and implications for response to treatment
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Dschang
Development of a molecular diagnostic method for soil-transmitted helminthiases: Epidemiological implications for disease control
Ameyo N. Monique Dorkenoo
Assistant Professor, University of Lomé
Monitoring migrant groups as a post-treatment surveillance approach to contain the potential risk of lymphatic filaraisis re-emergence after stopping mass drug administration in Togo
Consultant Microbiologist and Senior Researcher, Muhimbili National Hospital
Does infection data add anything to our understanding of trachoma prevalence in low endemic areas?
Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health, University of Calabar
Demand creation and services uptake push for onchocerciasis control in Cross River State, Nigeria
Senior Lecturer, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences
Integrating use of point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen rapid diagnostic by community health workers during mass drug administration campaign to increase uptake of praziquantel treatment among adult populations in North-Western Tanzania: A cluster randomized trial
Grants range from USD 10,000-25,000 and extend for 1 year. Support is provided by USAID via the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs to the African Research Network for NTDs.
The African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) is the only African-based network, spear-headed by Africans that does not exclusively focus on a single NTD or theme and is composed of individuals from a variety of disciplines across health, social, and management sciences, including policymakers. The ARNTD secretariat is based in Kumasi, Ghana, with membership spread across 30 countries.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Based in Washington, D.C., USAID extends help from the American people to achieve results for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world.
The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) includes researchers, program implementers, and their supporters with the shared goal of optimizing the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases. The COR-NTD secretariat is the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, a program at The Task Force for Global Health in Decatur, GA, USA.