NAME: Consortium for Health Research and Advanced Training (CHERAT)
Preamble: As the last millennium was drawing to close, there were increased flurry of activities in all aspects of human endeavor. These were mostly introspective review of previous events with the purpose of translating the lessons learned into concrete remedial and constructive goals. The Faculty of Medical Sciences and faculty members of the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus were not left in seeking a new course to improve on the quality of teaching and research in the next millennium in order to entrench an enduring legacy of not only best practice in medicine but also in improving the health and well being of mankind through research in a developing country.
In this regard a group of academics in the institution felt the compelling need to position the institution in the oncoming years in fields of research in human medicine. To realize this goal a consortium of likeminded members was constituted.
Consortium for Health Research and Advanced Training (CHERAT) is a research group comprised of academics and non academic staff of the College of Medicine whose goal is to reposition the institution in the field of health research in human medicine.
To pursue excellence in the field of human research to position the faculty among the best in the field of research in medicine in Nigeria and beyond
To position the faculty among the best in the field of research in medicine in Nigeria and beyond
In order to achieve the goal the consortium will endeavor:
1. To develop and sustain a strong health research team in the faculty
2. To attract into the team, notable and erudite research oriented personnel.
3. To establish an efficient and reliable research laboratory for research on human subjects
4. To strengthen already existing capacity in the institution and environ
5. To build capacity in the relevant fields.
6. To collaborate with other research centers and multilateral agencies in developing the best practice in research
7. To provide training for research personnel
In 2004, the consortium was established with an initial membership of 10 faculty members. These comprised of members from various disciplines (different fields) of medicine (Clinical and Basic medical sciences). The centre is situated in the faculty of medical sciences with its own office and administrative staff (officers). Considering the wide scope of medical research the membership is expansible to accommodate more research as may be required in future. The core researchers are faculty members who have wide experience and have been involved in many research projects in collaboration with other multilateral agencies.
The consortium is structured in seamless hierarchical manner for easy operation. The Chairman of the group is Professor Rich E. Umeh, an Ophthalmologist, who serves as the administrative head and has a wide range of experience in human health research and ethics. She is a seasoned medical administrator holding various positions in the faculty and university. There is a vice chairman, Professor Obinna Onwujekwe who holds a medical degree and post graduate degrees in health economics. Other functions of the organization are shared by the other members who are the core personnel with the secretary, Professor E. N. Shu, serves as the administrative secretary and the project manager. Among its resource personnel are clinicians, nurses, laboratory scientists, health educators.
The consortium has at its own dedicated laboratory different from the routine laboratory of the affiliate hospital (University of Nigeria teaching Hospital Enugu), situated in the old hospital site in Enugu, the State capital. This is equipped with materials for various levels of research work (simple and not so simple research work). These equipment include research microscopes, HLPC equipment, pharmaceutical fridge, refrigerated centrifuge, water bath, -80 and -400C freezers, canisters for liquid nitrogen, Automated haem analyser, spectrometer, haematocrit centrifuge. Most Laboratory supplies are sourced locally. An experienced qualified Laboratory scientist oversees the functioning of the equipment particularly with reference to Standardization.
There are other certificated laboratory scientists that are attached to the base laboratory and available for field trips. The consortium can also utilize some of the laboratory equipment and material in the affiliate hospital.
The office is equipped with a telephone and fax machine for ease of communication. It also has 4 desktop computers for word processing and data entry when the need arises. The consortium has installed and connected to its office a VSAT enabled internet connection dedicated to its operations.
Other relevant assets
To ensure uninterrupted power supply for its function there is a dedicated 20 KVA generator for the services at its base station and a 10 KVA generator for its field work.
The Consortium has established and utilizes field sites located in three senatorial districts in Enugu state. The field site personnel function, on ad hoc basis, as part of the Consortium research team when the need arises.
The core investigators have a garnered experience in a wide range of medical research; clinical and operational, both locally and internationally. Since its inception the consortium has successfully engaged in the following research projects:
2012/2013: “Clinical Validation of a Urine Test for the Diagnosis of Malaria in Febrile Patients” sponsored by Fyodor Biotechnologies Inc, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
2011/2012: A GSK/MVI-funded project “Consistency of immunogenicity and non-inferiority of three production lots of GSK Biological’s candidate malaria vaccine in children.”
2010/2012: A UK Department for International Development (DFID)-supported project (through Malaria Consortium) ‘An evaluation of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine sensitivity and effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnant women in Nigeria’.
2009/2010: A World Bank/STEP-B Research Grant ‘Seroepidemiological survey of Plasmodium falciparum strains in Southeastern Nigeria: A baseline study’.
2008: Sanofi-funded project: artesunate/amodiaquine (coarsucam(R)) for uncomplicated malaria.
2007/2008: Mepha-funded project: artesunate-mefloquine (artequine paediatricR) for uncomplicated malaria in children.
2007: Neimeth-funded project: artemeter-lumefantrine, artesunate plus amodiaquine and artesunate plus amodiaquine plus chlorpheniramine (artemcloTM) for acute uncomplicated malaria in children.
2006/2007: WHO/MMV/GSK-supported Multi-centre, randomised, double-blind study: chlorproguanil HCl, dapsone and artesunate (CDA) versus artemether-lumefantrine (coartem) in the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in children and adolescents in Africa
2005: Pfizer-supported Multi-centre, randomised, double-blind study: amodiaquine and sulphalene/pyrimethamine versus artemether-lumefantrine (coartem) for uncomplicated malaria in children.
• The consortium is currently developing proposals on telemedicine, maternal and child health, malaria: treatment and molecular biology, HIV, HIV/Malaria interaction among others. It is also working on collaborations in area of medical research, training with institutions in Nigeria and abroad.