Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent an unprecedented global crisis where cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are now responsible for 70% of all deaths, not only in developed countries, but also worldwide. Seventy five percent of all NCD related deaths and 82% of premature NCD- related deaths, occur in low-middle income countries (LMIC) where the economic costs of this epidemiological transition are catastrophic. High quality, region specific data regarding NCDs and their management are scarce and most densely populated LMICs, like Pakistan, are not equipped to prevent or manage this epidemic. A critical gap in the response of low-middle income countries to the global non-communicable disease epidemic is the paucity of trained researchers who can contribute to the understanding of prevalence and risk factors, and development and testing of safe, effective, low-cost diagnostic and care pathways. In order to achieve the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), there is an urgent need for a range of health care professionals engaging in high quality research in the NCD space, as emphasized in two of six objectives of the WHO NCD action plan 2013-2020: 1) To promote and support national capacity for high quality research and development for the prevention and control of NCDs, and 2) To monitor the trends and determinants of NCDs and evaluate progress in their prevention and control. To build capacity in this area, a comprehensive, integrated, locally relevant, research training program targeting multiple priority NCDs, is urgently needed. The overarching goal of this planning grant is to develop a robust multidisciplinary research-training program targeting NCDs by leveraging Aga Khan University's (AKU) extensive development network platform and infrastructure at its flagship site in Pakistan. The specific objectives of this proposal are to: (1) Systematically assess capacity ?assets? and ?needs? for NCD research at AKU, (2) Organize a planning committee to develop an NCD research training program, (3) Curate a pool of potential trainees for the eventual NCD research-training pathway, and, (4) Prepare a robust NCD research training D43 grant application based on needs identified at the Aga Khan University. !

Public Health Relevance

Pakistan, a low-middle income country (LMIC), has limited capacity to address the current non-communicable disease (NCD) crisis. Leveraging existing infrastructure at the Aga Khan University?s flagship program in Karachi Pakistan, the extensive Aga Khan Development Network and collaborations with Duke University, we propose a planning application for a robust, multi-disciplinary research-training program for NCDs which will also provide background for sustainable international NCD partnerships. We expect that this program will directly increase Pakistan?s research capacity, a critical element in a comprehensive NCD response.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Planning Grant (D71)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Michels, Kathleen M
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Aga Khan University (Pakistan)
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