Zim university receives U.S. Government award to strengthen medical education

UZ Receives U.S. Government Award to Strengthen Medical Education and Train Health Care Workers

Harare – The U.S. Government announced that the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences will receive an award from the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI will support the goals of the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (P

Under this award, the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) is partnering with the University of Colorado-Denver, Stanford University, the University of Cape Town, University College London and Kings College Londons Institute of Psychiatry to train new health care workers and to improve the capacity of Zimbabwean health care institutions to deliver care.

The $15 million award to UZCHS will cover the Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers (NECTAR) program and two linked awards program areas: Cerebrovascular, Heart Failure and Rheumatic Heart Disease Interventions (CHRIS) Strategy and Improving Mental Health Education and Research Capacity in Zimbabwe (IMHERZ) over five years.

The UZCHS feels privileged to be awarded this prestigious grant from the US National Institutes of Health/ Fogarty International Center (NIH/FIC) and PEPFAR. The award has come at a very opportune time when the UZCHS is revamping academic and research activities, says Professor James Hakim, Principal Investigator NECTAR, CHRIS and IMHERZ. He said the grant will enable the premier medical training institution in Zimbabwe to implement programs to improve undergraduate, postgraduate and faculty training in the areas of clinical management and research capacity, and in general to create a scholarly and inquisitive environment at the institution.

Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the head of PEPFAR, described the partnership as an important step to transition PEPFAR-supported HIV efforts from an emergency response to a more sustainable effortand to develop the expertise necessary for evidence-based decision-making on the local level.

Funded through a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and PEPFAR, MEPI grants are awarded directly to African institutions in a dozen countries, working in partnership with U.S. medical schools and universities. The initiative will form a network of 30 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 U.S. collaborators. A complete list of awards and collaborating partners is available at: www.fic.nih.gov/programs/training_grants/mepi/awards.htm

PEPFAR, through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Zimbabwe, currently collaborates with the University of Zimbabwe on a number of initiatives including a well-respected two-year Masters Degree program in Public Health and the HIV/AIDS Quality of Care Initiative.

The United States is fully committed and engaged with Zimbabwe in the fight against HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR, including the Government of Zimbabwes scale up of antiretroviral treatment. In 2010, the number of people receiving ARVs with direct PEPFAR funding increased to 59,000, up from 40,000 in 2009. PEPFARs 2011 budget for Zimbabwe is increasing by more than 20% (US$10 million) over this current year to a total of US$57.5 million. This follows a doubling of the Zimbabwe PEPFAR budget from 2009 to 2010 (from approximately US$26 million in 2009 to US$47.5 million in 2010). Much of that increase came as part of President Obamas pledge of assistance to Zimbabwe. PEPFAR programs are implemented in Zimbabwe by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, and the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section (PAS), under the leadership of the Embassy.

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to support partner nations around the world in responding to HIV/AIDS. It was launched in 2003, and is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally in history. PEPFAR is the cornerstone of the Presidents Global Health Initiative, which supports partner countries in improving health outcomes through strengthened health systems. For more information, please visit http://www.PEPFAR.gov, http//twitter.com/ www.PEPFAR.gov, http://twitter.com/uspepfar, or http://www.facebook.com/PEPFAR www.facebook.com/PEPFAR.

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