Genomic epidemiology for surveillance and control of poverty-related and emerging/re-emerging infections in sub-Saharan Africa
1) To strengthen the collection and analysis of clinical and epidemiological data and clinical samples, including the implementation of translational clinical research demonstrating the application of genomic epidemiology to inform public health decision-making;
2) To enhance the capacity and capability for pathogen genomic sequencing in Ethiopia, including strengthening the laboratory infrastructure, human workforce, pathogen genomic data analysis, and the integration of metadata with genomic data;
3) To develop and implement innovative digital diagnostic platforms and create semi-real-time mobile phone applications for public health and policy decisions;
4) To promote communities of practice and knowledge exchange through fostering African collaboration and networking in the emerging domain of pathogen genomic surveillance for infectious diseases, and thus open important surveillance/research opportunities.
The 21st century witnessed increased incidence of epidemics (Zika, dengue, Ebola, SARS), with the latest highlight being COVID-19. Following the outbreak of several infectious diseases during the last few decades, the need for generating real-time pathogen genomic data for public health action has become more important than ever. In the African context, infrastructure, human resource capability, data analysis, including bioinformatics, lack of linkage between clinical, epidemiological, and pathogen genomic data as well the interaction between clinicians, researchers, and decision makers are some of the major challenges. The aim of the EpiGen project is to build capacity for an integrated pathogen genomic surveillance system which can then inform public health decisions. The specific overarching objectives include strengthening collection and analysis of clinical and epidemiological data, enhancing the capacity and capability for pathogen genomic sequencing, including strengthening the laboratory infrastructure, human work force, pathogen genomic data analysis, and the integration of metadata with genomic data, developing and implementing innovative digital diagnostic platforms, creating mobile phone applications which update in semi-real time for policy decisions, and promoting communities of practice and knowledge exchange through fostering African collaboration and networking in the domain of pathogen genomic surveillance for infectious diseases. EpiGen project’s multi-disciplinary consortium is drawn from several institutions from Ethiopia engaged in National Public Health Programs, and EU partners (The Netherlands, Spain and Germany). Overall, the model approach proposed by EpiGen will enhance Ethiopia’s national effort in mitigating the threat of infectious diseases. The implementation of a national genomic-informed surveillance for infectious diseases will play significant public health role towards contributing to disease prevention and control programmes in Ethiopia and beyond.
To be updated upon full roll out.
AIGHD Research Lead
- Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf
- Fundacion Privada Instituto De Salud Global Barcelona
- Ethiopian Public Health Institute
- Amhauer Hansen Research Institute
- Arsi University
- Jimma University
- PharmAccess International
- Ministry of Health Ethiopia
- Bahir Dar University
- St Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College
- Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Science
Diede Smith, Project Manager (email@example.com)