The Infectious Diseases Institute
Strengthening Africa’s Health System
Through the merger with Accordia Global Health Foundation, Africare is partnering with African Centers of Excellence like the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) to strengthen Africa’s health system and emergency preparedness and response to improve the health and well-being of the people we serve in Africa. IDI’s mission is to strengthen health systems in Africa, with a strong emphasis on infectious diseases, through research and capacity development.
Since its inception, the Infectious Diseases Institute has:
- Ensured unrivaled quality of care to hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive patients in Uganda, and provided proactive and preventive health services
- Worked with medical and nursing schools, to train tens of thousands of healthcare professionals across 28 African countries – who in turn have trained thousands more – to ensure a stronger health workforce for the continent
- Conducted world class clinical and operational research, and exported both scientific and practical solutions to combat HIV and other diseases throughout Africa – an invaluable resource to the region’s health ministries
- Provide hundreds of talented professionals with legitimate career paths, and the incentive to remain in Africa and contribute to the integrity of their profession and the health of their people
- Demonstrated to the world what is possible when smart and serious investments are made in Africa.
“African-owned and African-led, the IDI is now a preeminent center for infectious disease research, training, and treatment. The IDI model has proven extraordinarily productive, with far-reaching applications for similar disease fighting efforts elsewhere in Africa.”
-Institute of Medicine, Report on U.S. Commitment to Global Health, May 2009
The disease fighting efforts include a collaboration to prevent and manage especially dangerous pathogens (EDPs) with the United States Army Medical Research Institute for infectious diseases (USAMRIID) and the Ministries of Health of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
For the past three years, IDI has worked to strengthen the ability of public health systems in East Africa to prevent and manage illnesses caused by pathogens of security concern. To increase East Africa’s preparedness, IDI has conducted service provider training in EDPs such as Ebola, for clinicians in Uganda and Kenya and to ensure the integration of this new knowledge and skills, IDI has conducted post-training follow-up of alumni through onsite and distance learning methods.
As of June 2016, a total of 378 clinicians (178 Ugandans, 179 Kenyans and 21 Tanzanians) had been trained; 134 (52 Kenyans and 82 Ugandans) have been followed up, and have displayed evidence of improved preparedness for the detection and management of especially dangerous pathogens.
The goal of the intervention is to decrease the delay in clinical diagnosis, management and reporting of EDPs, while employing infection control methods that keep frontline healthcare workers safe, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality in an outbreak. The program has had a significant practical impact already: six alumni clinicians and epidemiologists served on the frontlines during the massive 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and three have become part of the WHO West African regional team of experts assigned to spearhead the rebuilding of the health care system after this devastating outbreak.
In Uganda, graduates of the EDP course have also ardently applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills to detect and manage outbreaks of plague in the Koboko district (October 2015) and yellow fever in Kabale district (March 2016).
“IDI’s work with EDP’s is only one example of the tremendous impact IDI is having on the region. IDI conducts original and translational research, saves lives through the provision of high quality clinical and laboratory services, and strengthens the health workforce through ground-breaking training and medical education. Through supporting locally owned centers of excellence like IDI, Africare is helping transform healthcare systems throughout the African continent,” commented Robert L. Mallett, Africare President and CEO.