The need for an integrated Research Training Program in non-communicable diseases in developing countries has arisen out of the need to understand the nature, extent and pace of the transition to the emerging diseases of lifestyle. The emphasis in training will be on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (obesity and type 2 diabetes).
The specific aim i s to develop a Training Program and a group of well trained researchers at the Masters, PhD and post-doctoral levels that cut across disciplines and provide capacity to tackle the big questions. What is the prevalence of these diseases in southern Africa? How can we monitor and understand the underlying causes? What effective intervention programs could we develop? This Research Training Program will be embedded in a regional, national and international research framework. It is aligned with the Fogarty Goals of mobilizing the scientific community to address the shifting burden of disease and disability specifically in non-communicable diseases;it will develop human capacity to meet the challenges by providing sustainable training for health scientists;and it will foster a sustainable research environment in a developing country. It will be an integrated Program that will ensure knowledge generation and dissemination from the basic and clinical sciences to inform public health issues, including social and cultural considerations. It is aimed at a translational approach that will feed back into population health policy. This training will be enabled through the integration and collaboration across several established research programs at the University of the Witwatersrand, including the Soweto Heart Study, the Agincourt Rural Facility and the Birth to Twenty Study, with the aim of understanding the epidemiology, the genetic risk factors, the mechanisms and opportunities for community intervention. Trainees recruited from developing countries will obtain a global insight into the causes and impact of non-communicable diseases on health.
Economic and cultural transition in developing nations is causing a shift to the increasing burden of non communicable diseases. A thorough understanding of the epidemiology and the social, genetic and environmental causes will lead to innovative and affordable interventions and treatments in developing countries.
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