South Africa is facing one of the worst tuberculosis epidemics in the world, with disease rates more than double those observed in other developing countries, and up to 60 times higher than those currently seen in the USA or Western Europe. Focused and sustainable clinical research is critical if the situation is to improve, and South Africa must possess the capacity to conduct large community trials in infectious diseases. Unfortunately, a sound clinical research ethos is not the state of affairs in this country. Programs supported from different U.S. and international sponsors are assisting by providing courses in research ethics, encouraging the pursuit of graduate certificates or advanced degrees in the basic sciences and/or public health, and offering specialized training in the performance of techniques necessary to perform diagnostic and molecular biology procedures. However, these are mostly geared to senior researchers and often require investigators to attend training in other countries. Few formal development options are available for other members of the clinical research team, and these individuals usually have little opportunity and resources to pursue professional development, either in-country or at international offerings. The long-term goal of the South Africa Infectious Disease Clinical Research Training Program (SAIDCRTP) is to build sustainable research capacity in infectious diseases within the total clinical research team. To accomplish this, SAIDCRTP will 1) build sustainable research capacity within the University of Cape Town (UCT), 2) create a masters degree program in clinical research administration at UCT, and 3) offer capacity building in clinical research to other South Africans. This application is highly relevant to the public health of South African citizens. By accomplishing its goal and objectives, SAIDCRTP will enhance the execution of good clinical research performed by South Africans, and expand education opportunities in clinical research through a professional development program and a high-quality academic masters degree program.
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