King’s awarded £7m for NIHR Global Health Unit – delivering healthcare, leaving no one behind

14 July 2017

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) today awarded King’s £7m to establish the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Health System Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lead by Unit Director Professor Martin Prince, the NIHR Global Health Research Unit will be interdisciplinary, involving 28 researchers from across King’s, with our partner institutions; Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia); University of Cape Town, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, and University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa); University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe); and King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (Sierra Leone). Mindwave Ventures will be developing apps for healthcare management.

Healthcare across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) reaches too few of those in need and does not achieve the best possible results. Resources are limited, so non-specialists provide most treatments.  NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Health System Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa will bring together surgeons, obstetricians, midwives, psychiatrists, public health dentists, palliative care and general healthcare specialists to work with social scientists, health economists, information technologists and implementation scientists, to find practical ways to improve the coverage and quality of care.  Work will take place across three care platforms - surgical care, maternal care and integrated primary healthcare for chronic diseases – in four SSA countries (Ethiopia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe).   

Martin Prince, says

‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this exciting new program. The health outcome gap between richer and poorer nations must be bridged.  We believe that existing resources can be used more efficiently and effectively, to bring better care to more people. This requires health systems that are better adapted to delivering continuing care, and with a commitment to quality improvement.

We shall be working with policymakers, health service managers, and the healthcare workforce at district level in each of the four partner countries to develop, pilot and evaluate a package of health system strengthening initiatives.'

The challenge is to demonstrate meaningful improvement in key health outcomes over the next four years. The Unit builds upon a decade of King’s collaborative research with our partners in sub-Saharan Africa in primary care, mental health, maternal health, palliative and surgical care. Now we are coming together to develop common solutions to common barriers to progress. This speaks directly to the core mission of King’s new Global Health Institute – delivering healthcare, leaving no one behind. ’

King’s faculties participating in the program include Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience; Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine; Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery; Dental Institute and the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy.

This award forms part of £120 million funding for Global Health Research.   

Part of the Government’s wider Official Developmental Assistance (ODA) budget, the aim of this research is to improve the health of patients and public in low and middle-income countries.