Nutrition Research Methods Workshop Trains Faculty and Graduate Students in Zambia
Now in its second year, the UNZA-Vanderbilt Training Partnership for HIV-Nutrition Research (UVP) program hosted a research training workshop for clinicians and researchers at the University of Zambia School of Medicine (UNZA) in Lusaka on March 6 and 7. The collaboration between UNZA and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) continues a long-standing relationship between the two institutions.
The two-day workshop, held at the University Teaching Hospital, entitled Methods for Research in HIV, Nutrition, and Metabolism included lecturers from UNZA, the Zambian Ministry of Health, the Tropical Disease Research Center in Zambia (TDRC), Tropical Gastroenterology and Nutrition Group (TROPGAN), Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), along with many international partners, made antiretroviral therapy (ART) available to millions of Africans and turned HIV into a chronic condition. This exposes persons living with HIV to multiple NCDs related to prolonged ART, lifestyle risk factors, secular changes accompanying the global epidemiologic transition, and aging. Nutritional factors are central to many of these, especially in low-income countries, and affect pathogenetic processes in the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) research training is central to the mission of UVP. To that end, the workshop highlighted research methods relevant to science linking HIV, nutrition/metabolism, and long-term NCDs, and aimed to build a vision for research opportunities using these methodologies in Zambia. Workshop highlights included tours of available laboratory resources in Zambia as well as ongoing and completed investigations by Zambia-based investigators. More than ninety people representing academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government entities working in the HIV/nutrition arena attended the meeting.
UVP is funded by the NIH-Fogarty International Center. Dr. Douglas Heimburger, Associate Director for Education and Training for VIGH and Dr. Selestine Nzala, Senior Lecturer in Public Health at UNZA, serve as Principal Investigators.