October 09, 2011

Follow us in Kenya!

GHTC Director

Mother and Child in Kenya

This is an exciting week for the GHTC. Not only are we launching our “Breakthroughs” blog, but we’re also taking off on an amazing trip to Kenya to discover how global health research is changing people’s lives on the ground. We can’t wait to share live updates on our blog from the trip, and give you a sense for the incredible progress taking place in Kenya. We’re very fortunate to be meeting with several GHTC members conducting ground-breaking work in Kenya. In Nairobi, we have plans to meet with local researchers from the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM). DNDi is leading an incredible effort to create new treatments for visceral leishmaniasis, or VL, a painful and deadly disease that affects half a million people worldwide each year. IPM and IAVI are leading work to develop new HIV prevention methods in the form a vaccine (IAVI), as well as gels, rings and other products women can use to protect themselves against HIV (IPM).

Also while we’re in Nairobi, the GHTC is meeting with several dedicated American officials working on global health research in Kenya. These committed US citizens work with agencies such as the State Department, the US Embassy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They’ll share with us why the US Government thinks research for new global health tools is so critical to American interests at home and abroad.

After Nairobi, we’ll visit Kisumu in Western Kenya. Kisumu is home to some of the most exciting health research going on in Kenya, including an incredible partnership several US agencies have with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). The CDC has been working with KEMRI for 30 years, and we’ll be visiting some exciting research projects the CDC/KEMRI partnership is working on with GHTC members. For example, there’s some remarkable vaccine research going on in and around Kisumu—GHTC member Aeras is conducting research for a new tuberculosis (TB) vaccine among infants in the region. And we’ll get the chance to hear about a ground-breaking study, called HPTN 052, on using antiretroviral drugs for HIV prevention in couples. The Department of Defense (DoD) also has a long history of medical research in Kisumu that we’ll get the hear more about during our visit.

Finally, we’ll be visiting a great program in western Kenya run by our secretariat PATH. The program, called APHIA II, provides comprehensive health care and prevention services for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and links these services to others that improve maternal and child health. APHIA shows the impact of lifesaving tools - such as drugs, vaccines, bed nets, and other treatments – that only exist as a result of the research investments that helped to develop them.

We hope you’re as excited about the GHTC’s trip as we are. We’re thrilled to share these stories with you, and hope you follow us throughout the week.

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