Dr Oghenebrume Wariri Awarded NIH Emerging Global Leader Award

Dr. Oghenebrume Wariri, who is a Clinical Research Fellow at the MRCG at LSHTM, has been awarded the K43 Emerging Global Leader Award by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr Wariri awarded the K43 Emerging Global Leader Award

Dr Wariri is based in the Vaccine & Immunity Theme at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, and the second research scientist from the MRCG at LSHTM to receive the Research Career Development Award from the NIH.

The five year award includes a grant of 560,000 USD for Dr. Wariri's research project, "Investigating the contribution of geographic accessibility and vaccine delivery channels to untimely measles vaccination and zero-dose prevalence in The Gambia: implications for disease outbreaks."

The project will use innovative spatiotemporal modelling techniques to map the subpopulation of children missing out on timely measles vaccination and examine the potential connections with suboptimal herd immunity and measles outbreak risks, which remain an international public health threat. The study will also investigate how geographic accessibility influences the uptake and delivery of routine vaccination in The Gambia.

In addition to supporting his research activities, the NIH K43 award will contribute to Dr Wariri's career development. He will collaborate with a team of mentors led by Prof Beate Kampmann (MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM), Prof Jessica Metcalf (Princeton University, USA), and Prof Andy Tatem (WorldPop, University of Southampton, UK). The award includes research time at Princeton University and the University of Southampton.

Dr Wariri completed his medical degree (MBBS) at the University of Benin in 2008 and specialised as a Paediatrician in 2017 after completing his residency training program, earning the Fellowship of the West African College of Physicians. In 2016, he obtained his MSc in Global Health (with distinction) as a Chevening scholar at the University of Aberdeen. In 2020, he was also awarded the EDCTP Career Development Fellowship and the ISSF Global Health Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

Currently, he is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at LSHTM, where he is investigating the spatial patterns and barriers to timely routine childhood vaccination uptake in The Gambia.

Expressing his gratitude, Dr. Wariri said, "I am honoured and thrilled to receive this award. Looking back at my journey since joining the MRC Unit barely five years ago, I am grateful for the outstanding institutional environment, research support platforms, and excellent mentorship that have shaped my career trajectory. I look forward to this next exciting chapter."  

Prof Beate Kampmann said; “Dr Wariri is one of our outstanding emerging African young scientists, and I am delighted that he can further develop his science and career supported by this very competitive and prestigious NIH award. I am also very grateful to our international collaborators for their support. During his PhD, Dr Wariri has already developed tools and new skillsets that will be important for public health EPI programs beyond The Gambia in order to close gaps in vaccination coverage, which is particularly relevant to measles.”

Jessica Metcalf, Associate Professor in Ecology, Evolution and Policy at Princeton University said; "Dr. Wariri has a uniquely impressive grasp of a central question in public health: how we can better understand what shapes access to vaccination. We are extremely excited to start pushing forwards in a new direction on this important issue."

 Andy Tatem, Director of WorldPop, said: "Aggregate statistics on vaccination coverage often mask local variations. This means that some children are being missed completely and not receiving life-saving vaccines. Dr Wariri's exciting research will bring together different forms of data at small area scales to help us better understand why these patterns exist and how we can optimize strategies to reach those who have been left behind."

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