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  • Best practice: Academy supports local scientists in Uganda
Best practice

Academy supports local scientists in Uganda

Company:

Johnson & Johnson

What:

A public institute that supports the development of scientists in Africa and conducts its own research. 

Where:

Uganda

Aim:

To improve health outcomes through innovations in clinical care, capacity building, and research, with a strong emphasis on HIV and TB. 

Context:

In Uganda, major gaps still exist in clinical care and health research due to a lack of training and resources for scientists to drive innovation. 

Through its pharmaceutical company arm (Janssen) and its Corporate Citizen Trust, Johnson & Johnson founded the Uganda Academy for Health Innovation and Impact (UA) in 2015 in partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) of Makerere University. The Academy is the first flagship implementation of Johnson & Johnson’s Connect for Life programme.

How does the initiative build research capacity in Uganda?
The academy’s aim is to improve health outcomes through innovations in clinical care, capacity building, systems strengthening and research. The academy’s work focuses on, but is not limited to, HIV and TB.

Part of the planning for the UA involved commissioning local experts from IDI to conduct a landscape assessment to identify gaps in areas such as clinical care, capacity building, systems and research relating to HIV and TB. The partnership used these gaps to define high-level objectives: driving innovation for impact in the health sector; leveraging partnerships, collaborations and advocacy; ensuring sustainability.

The Ugandan Academy is training local scientists to develop innovative health solutions. ©Johnson & Johnson

What makes this a best practice?
The UA now runs its own projects, combining research with training and support. It builds capacity by developing open-access e-learning materials, and supporting postgraduate research. Overall, the vision is to increase availability and accessibility of sustainable health care in Uganda.

In the UA, Johnson & Johnson has led the way in contributing to the creation of a public institute that supports the development of scientists in Africa and conducts its own research. This initiative meets all standards of good practice, and represents best practice in R&D capacity building.

The partnership defines and addresses gaps in research capacity, and has clear strategic objectives, including sustainability. Janssen provided initial funding for the academy (through 2020), and is helping it develop a model for sustainable fundraising and to improve internal systems and processes.

The UA is governed by a memorandum of understanding (MOU), overseen by a secretariat that runs the institute day-to-day, monthly check-ins with Janssen’s project leader, and quarterly meetings of an advisory board. Tracking happens quarterly, supplemented by an annual report that summarises the UA’s achievements. This is available publicly as part of the IDI’s annual report.


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