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UK charity announces new funding for African health professionals

A UK-based charity has pledged £1.5million towards funding the next generation of African health professionals in an innovative new grant scheme aimed at combating ‘brain drain’ in developing nations.

The funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation will support the training of early career health researchers in Africa and establish a health researcher network between the UK and five African countries.

The Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme will fund 25 new PhD scholars based in The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe through a three-year PhD programme which will help to address the most pressing public health problems confronting the region including infectious diseases, maternal, child and adolescent health, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and mental health.

The African fellows will be paired with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in an effort to create a unique, blended and integrated cohort.

This programme is an effort to prevent the ‘brain drain’ where skilled Africans emigrate to other countries to complete their studies. Instead, the scholars will spend the majority of their time in their home country. It is hoped that this programme will generate impactful and relevant research outputs for African countries, while also contributing to a positive research culture change within UK and African institutions.

Professor Rashida Ferrand, director of the new programme, said:

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to provide fellowships in our African partner institutions.  This funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is all about creating a robust pipeline for training future African global health leaders.

“By pairing these fellows with UK institutions, we hope to encourage bidirectional learning and peer support and to foster transcultural understanding. Our fellows will undertake shared learning and research activities supported by both the UK and African partners, which champion an inclusive and equitable research culture. It is my hope that this programme is a step in the right direction to redress the inequities in global health research.”

Dr Michael Vaughan, health project director at the Hamish Ogston Foundation said: 

“The Hamish Ogston Foundation is proud to be providing opportunities for the next generation of health professionals in Africa. The new Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme has huge potential to help reduce health inequalities worldwide, and will provide invaluable learning opportunities for both African and UK early health career researchers. The launch of this programme marks a major milestone for the Foundation as we continue our mission to eliminate disparities in both access to medical treatment and health awareness around the world.”

The launch of the Platinum Jubilee Health Training Programme follows a £350,000 commitment by the Hamish Ogston Foundation in June 2022 for 70 Platinum Jubilee Grants for early career health professionals wishing to undertake scientific research projects in Tropical Medicine and Global Health in Commonwealth countries.

Image: Researchers in a laboratory in Entebbe, Uganda (Hamish Ogston Foundation)