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Arua-NCD CoE

Our Goal

Conduct research, build capacity, and disseminate findings that will address the rising problem of NCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the region.

Our Mission

To become a vibrant, sustainable Centre of Excellence for NCD at the forefront of NCD research, capacity-building, and policy-making support in Africa.

Our Vision

Develop scientific evidence required to inform NCDs policies; promote NCDs prevention, management, and control; and engage with communities.

The ARUA Centre of Excellence for NCDs (ACE-NCD) is one of the thirteen ARUA Centres of Excellence. ACE-NCD hub is hosted by the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and is made up of five African Universities among them, the University of Nairobi, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Ghana, the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. ACE-NCD comprises an international network of researchers across Africa and the rest of the World. ACE-NCD seeks to support research capacity building in the five partner African universities and the less research-intensive universities in Africa to address Africa’s complex burden of NCDs through collaborative trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research groups across Africa and beyond.

The ARUA Centre of Excellence for NCDs seeks to strengthen NCD training and research capacity building of young scholars spanning the medical and health sciences, public health, engineering, basic sciences, social sciences and humanities. In addition, the Centre will mount short courses, both face-to-face and online, focusing on broad NCD thematic areas; support research teams to secure research funding to enable them to undertake research and dissemination, and leverage on unique and collective strengths of its partners to become the focal point for NCD research in Africa.

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Center of Excellence for Non-communicable Diseases (ARUA CoE for NCDs) was awarded to the University of Nairobi in 2019 by the ARUA and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Centre is one of the 13ARUA Centres of Excellence. The Center is run on a Hub and Spoke model and is a partnership between five high research-intensive African Universities, namely, the University of Nairobi (the Hub and host), Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Ghana, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, and the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. In addition, the Centre collaborates with the University of Glasgow and Leicester University in the UK.

The Centre’s activities are aimed at building NCDs research and capacity within Africa. The Centre’s core activities are: –

  • Supporting and undertaking collaborative trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research on NCDs in Africa as well as host and support knowledge sharing.
  • Expanding partnership and networks with ARUA and non-ARUA universities, research institutions, key government agencies, private sector, and civil society actors, as well as strategic partners in Africa, UK and beyond.
  • Identification and application of research, training, and capacity building grants to support postgraduate students and faculty to undertake NCDs research, participate in international training, exchanges, and short courses, and scientific and knowledge sharing forums.
  • Initiating and supporting engagement with practitioners and policy makers, and community level research and interventions to promote prevention, management, and policy support on NCD issues.
  • Promoting and supporting innovative ideas that provide solutions to the NCD problem in Africa, especially the technological innovations by young people.
  • Establishment of the Centre within the University of Nairobi and strengthening the partners role to undertake and support NCD research, training, and capacity building activities in their countries, and in the African region.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 37 per cent of all deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 were from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a rise from 24 per cent in 2000. The rise in NCDs in Africa places a tremendous social and economic burden on communities. This occurs through increased absenteeism, job loss, unaffordable medical costs, increased responsibilities from family members for caregiving, and/or complete loss of income from the death of the breadwinner. The loss of income (partial or complete) pushes low-income households further into poverty.

Increased urbanization, rising poverty, weak health systems, weak policy guidelines, poor health-seeking behaviour and socio-cultural factors pose challenges for NCDs prevention, management, and control in sub-Saharan Africa. Complications arising from multi-morbidity, multiple chronic conditions and co-morbidity with infectious diseases create further challenges that affect men and women, young and old, and rural and urban populations disproportionately across different regions and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this, there is a lack of reliable data on the epidemiological distribution and rising prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. The rise of NCDs threatens to halt or roll back progress made in the health and development of sub-Saharan Africa, especially among adolescents and young people. The focus on NCDs is important given that Africa has the World’s youngest population, and a rapidly expanding adolescent and youth population, estimated at 360 million, with about 120 million or a third between 10-14 years.

The Centre’s research areas are framed around three broad thematic areas.

  • Prevention – nutrition, substance abuse and mental health, indoor and outdoor air quality, hypertension, and policy development and communication; models of prevention and care.
  • Early Detection and Control – mechanistic research, multi-morbidity of chronic diseases and infection, bio-banking and biomarkers, with a focus on cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs).
  • Big Data for Evidence-Based Decision Making – data and trend analysis for the risk factors using a life course approach, especially focusing on adolescents and youth.

In addition, cross-cutting research areas shall include -gender; education and mentorship; communication and research dissemination; engagement with the public and industry.

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The Arua-NCD CoE steering committee

Dr. Fred Bukachi, MMed, PhD

Centre Director

Dr Anne Kamau, PhD

Deputy Director

Dr Roseanne Njiru

Steering Committee

Dr. Nana Ama Frimpomaa Agyapong

Post Doc Fellow

Dr. Anita Nyaboke Ongosi

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Mr. Steven Muthusi

ICT and Software support

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