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UK Charity Donates £1.5 Million to Fund PHD Research by Commonwealth African Health Professionals


Hamish Ogston Foundation donates £1.5 million for African PhDFellows to address funding inequalities and to establish a health researcher network between UK and African nations

The Hamish Ogston Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to eliminating disparities in both access to medical treatment and health awareness around the world, is committing £1.5 million to support 25 PhDs for health professionals from Africa.

The Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme PhDfellows will be based in The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe through a three-year PhDprogramme which will help to address the most pressing public health problems confronting the region including infectious diseases, maternal, child and adolescent health, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and mental health.

Globally, Africa accounts for nearly half of total deaths from infectious diseases, despite representing only 16% of the world population. Non-communicable diseases are also increasing rapidly on the continent, and over the next decade, the continent is projected to experience the largest increase in death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes, compared to other global regions.

Despite high demand, there are very limited opportunities for African health professionals to train in global health research, impeding development. In addition, much needed solutions to the public health problems confronting the continent are generated from institutions in the global north, which may not be locally appropriate.

To address this shortcoming, the new Programme pairs African PhDfellows with PhD fellows from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and four other partner UK institutions in an effort to create a unique integrated cohort creating mutual advantages. This will be underpinned by developing a Digital Global Health Academy to train future research leaders and to develop skills to build an inclusive research culture to address the substantial inequalities in global health.  This Academy programme will be both developed and delivered by African and UK institutions.

This programme provides a partial solution to the difficulties African PhD fellows have in raising funds to come to study in the UK. Vibrant research platforms in the African countries taking part in this programme are producing important research work leveraging their first-hand knowledge of local diseases and the social and cultural impacts.  The pairing of African and UK PhDs will lead to closer research and cultural ties, and the African PhD students will have the choice of registering their PhD studies at Higher Education Institutions in the UK or Africa.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) partner institutions in Africa will be The Medical Research Council (MRC) in the Gambia and Uganda, Zambart at the University of Zambia School of Medicine, and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute and the Zvitambo Institute of Maternal and Child Health Research in Zimbabwe. Other research institutions may be added as the programme gains traction.

Professor Rashida Ferrand, Director of the new programme, said:

I am really excited to have the opportunity to provide fellowships in our African partner institutions.  This funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is all about creating a robust pipeline for training future African global health leaders and creating an equitable research training model.

By pairing these fellows with UK institutions, we hope to encourage bidirectional learning and peer support and to foster transcultural understanding. Our fellows will undertake shared learning and research activities supported by both the UK and African partners, which champion an inclusive and equitable research culture. It is my hope that this programme is a step in the right direction to redress the inequities in global health research.”

Dr Michael Vaughan, Health Project Director at the Hamish Ogston Foundation said:

“The Hamish Ogston Foundation is proud to be providing opportunities for the next generation of health professionals in Africa. The new Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme has huge potential to help reduce health inequalities worldwide and will provide invaluable learning opportunities for both African and UK early career health researchers. The launch of this programme marks a major milestone for the Foundation as we continue our mission to eliminate disparities in both access to medical treatment and health awareness around the world.

“We will be closely following this programme and its cadre of PhD fellows with an eye for continuous improvement and opportunity to establish a model to capture the best brains and enable them to flourish in their own country, while simultaneously enhancing the reputation of their medical research institutions.”

The launch of the Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme follows a £350,000 commitment by the Hamish Ogston Foundation in June 2022 for 70 Platinum Jubilee Grants for early career health professionals wishing to undertake scientific research projects in Tropical Medicine and Global Health in Commonwealth countries.

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