Press Releases 2022

SIYAKHULA - Growing HIV/TB Research Knowledge for Growing Healthy Kids in Eswatini

In siSwati, the language of people of eSwatini (formerly named Swaziland), “Siyakhula” means “Together We Grow”. The health care system of the small Kingdom in the South of Africa faces many challenges: Infectious diseases rule everyday life in eSwatini. More than 1/4 of the population is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In addition, the country has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis world-wide.

“Siyakhula” is also the name of a 1.5 million US $ training grant funded by the US National Institute of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center awarded to Leibniz Chair and Guest Professor in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Group at the Research Center Borstel Anna Maria Mandalakas from Baylor College in Medicine in Houston, Texas, USA. Together with Professor Christoph Lange, Medical Director of the Research Center Borstel and Guest Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, she led the team’s launch of the Child Health Applied Research Training (CHART) Program, part of “Siyakhula”, in October 2022 at the University of eSwatini in Mbabane.

The four-year CHART program enables 30 young Swazi researchers to grow into the role of junior scientists under one-to-one mentorship with experienced mentors. The course consists of lectures on research principles and study conception. It is complemented by group work during which participants develop skills to prepare their own research protocols in different areas such as epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis and HIV-infection and also on the effect of climate change on infectious diseases. The best research proposals are funded through the NIH program to support participants in their early career. “The problems with tuberculosis and HIV-infection in eSwatini have already been enormous prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now tuberculosis case detection, especially in children, has dramatically declined and in parallel tuberculosis associated deaths are increasing. Comprehensive career development as offered through the “Siyakhula” program are needed to support the healthcare system by growing research capacities in eSwatini right now” says Professor Lange. “The “Siyakhula” program is exceptional and highly responsive to local needs. Partners in the country have been involved in every step of the process from conceptualization to implementation. Capacity building in International Health is a matter of the heart for the Research Center Borstel and it is a privilege for us to participate in Siyakhula”, says Lange.


For more information:

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Christoph Lange 
Medical Director, Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center, Borstel, Germany 
Professor für Respiratory Medicine & International Health, University of Lübeck
T +49 4537 188 3321/0
F +49 4537 188 6030
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