This is a comprehensive application to support training in malaria surveillance, epidemiology and implementation science research to strengthen malaria policy and control in Uganda. Although Uganda has dramatically scaled up available malaria control interventions, the burden of malaria is still very high and the optimal strategies to control malaria in this high transmission setting are still unclear. New interventions or new delivery approaches are needed to have sustained impacts on reducing disease burden. Expertise in malaria research remains limited in Uganda, necessitating the need for additional training. In 1998, a collaborative malaria research project was established between Makerere U and the University of California, San Francisco. In 2010, our research program was awarded the East African International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) award whose goal is to perform comprehensive surveillance studies aimed at improving understanding of the disease and measuring the impact of population-level control interventions. This program has increased our already outstanding set of opportunities for research training. To date, our training programs have largely focused on training at master?s level, with few trainees at the doctoral level or in a position to influence policy. Thus, our previous trainings have created a large pool of candidates that are suitable for training at the doctoral level and to lead a new generation of scientists translating research into policy. For Ugandan expertise in malaria control to grow and diversify, we propose to establish a comprehensive research training program at Makerere University School of Medicine focused on strengthening malaria control and policy in Uganda. Our objectives will be to: 1) substantially increase the scientific leadership and expertise needed for independent malaria epidemiology, surveillance and implementation science research, 2) strengthen the capabilities and career development of junior faculty of Makerere U to lead, manage and train students in malaria research by providing post-doctoral mentored research training, 3) strengthen the sustainability of malaria research at Makerere U by strengthening the Makerere U malaria research center, and 4) promote collaborations between the National Malaria Control Program and malaria research programs in Uganda to foster evidence-based decision making. The collaborators on the ICEMR and other research grants provide a pool of faculty that will ensure high-quality supervision and mentoring of trainees. Degree trainees will be registered at Makerere U or London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and non-degree long and short-term training will occur in Uganda and at UCSF. With changing malaria epidemiology in Uganda and potential for sustainable malaria research to policy activities in the country, we are perfectly poised to strengthen the capacity for malaria research and control in Uganda. We anticipate training 4 PhD candidates, 5 candidates in master?s degree programs, 9 candidates in long-term non-degree training and over 100 candidates in short-term non-degree programs.
Uganda is currently scaling up proven malaria control interventions on a national scale. While these interventions provide some relief, they are not sufficient to adequately reduce the high malaria burden in the country, and resurgence after discontinuation of control measures has been experienced. An improved ability to both predict which combinations of proven and new interventions are most likely to have the greatest benefit and to accurately evaluate their effects would be of enormous benefit. Improved in-country expertise in epidemiologic, surveillance and implementation science research will be critical to assist the Ministry of Health in establishing effective policies for the better control and eventual elimination of malaria.