MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit unveils new facility to research infectious and non-communicable diseases

The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit has unveiled a new state-of-the-art clinical research facility in Entebbe to further boost its contributions to science, policy and practice in Uganda.
Professor Pontiano Kaleebu

The facility commissioning ceremony was presided over by the Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, and attended by Her Excellency Kate Airey OBE, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, and Professor Liam Smeeth, the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Funded by Wellcome and the UKRI United Kingdom Research and Innovation/Medical Research Council, the solar-powered facility will be used to conduct clinical research in infectious and non-communicable diseases.

It will also support the sharing of expertise and experiences among researchers in Africa and facilitate the development of best practices in the management and conduct of clinical trials. 

The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit has over 30 years’ experience in conducting clinical research and trials that involve interactions with patients, research participants and surrounding communities to further understanding of a range of different areas, including disease mechanisms and natural history, translational research, diagnosis, prevention and therapeutic intervention trials and health services research.

Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute and Director of the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, said: “We are very excited about this new facility which will provide opportunities to strengthen and expand our clinical research and training in order to contribute to improving the health of our people.”

The Unit has strong clinical research expertise and infrastructure across its research sites and programmes. This includes experienced and clinical research staff in Good Participatory Practice Guidelines, Human Subjects Protection, Good Clinical Research Practice, Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice, and Advanced Life Support certification. 

The new research clinics will house equipment to evaluate research participants, pharmacies to manage clinical trial investigational medicinal products, and clinical and diagnostic laboratory facilities. There will be continued engagement with the communities through Participant Advisory Groups and Community Advisory Boards to ensure strong linkages between the research teams, local communities, and other stakeholders.

Professor Liam Smeeth, Director of LSHTM, said: “This is an outstanding facility which cements the Unit’s position as one of the leading research institutes in Africa. Combined with the Unit’s talented and dedicated staff, the new facility will be the catalyst for more vital research that will improve the lives of Ugandans and health of the continent.”

Her Excellency Kate Airey OBE, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, said: “This new facility is another sign of the commitment of the Government of the United Kingdom to partner with the Government of Uganda and scientists to find solutions through research that will lead to better health.”

Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I wish to thank the Wellcome Trust and the UK MRC for funding this facility. This contribution builds on the long term support and partnership with the UK Government and the outstanding research the MRC Unit and UVRI have generated over the years. We pledge to play our part, together building a healthier nation.”

LSHTM Scholarship Fund

Every year, LSHTM donors, alumni and friends donate to help widen access to education through the provision of scholarships.

Scholarships are transformational, have the capacity to change the lives of the students who receive them, and alleviate the financial burden of study for talented and motivated recipients.