Rwanda

Developing T4 translational research capacity for control of hypertension in Rwanda

TREIN
A Public lecture on Opportunities of Scientific Capacity Building and Research in Rwanda held in the University of Rwanda-College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Kigali, Rwanda.

The uniqueness of this project is that it tackles hypertension which is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality associated with CVD in Africa and globally.
Through preventive efforts like dissemination, community awareness, and publication, the burden of this disease can be curtailed and prevented in Africa which can be duplicated in other LMICs.

Project summary

Although various evidence-based effective interventions for control of hypertension in high-Income countries exist, implementation is challenging in Rwanda like other low-income countries (LICs), due to lack of capacity and infrastructure for late-phase (T4) translational research (TR).

Thus, developing competencies for a generation of highly skilled Rwandans in T4TR to identify facilities, resources, and capabilities to nurture dissemination and implementation research (D&IR) are critical to creating a context-specific research plan for HTN control in Rwanda.

This project will create a collaborative team of academics, clinicians, community healthcare providers, and public health experts to engage in T4TR by building the competencies required to enhance uptake of proven interventions for control of hypertension in Rwanda.

Dr. Mutimura, the Principal investigator of the Rwanda project, introduces research capacity for hypertension control in Rwanda.

Project goals

  1. To design training activities to build capacity for T4TR to improve prevention and control of hypertension in Rwanda.
  2. To conduct a needs assessment on facilities, resources, skills, and data to advance T4TR capacity for sustainable hypertension control in Rwanda.
  3. To develop a comprehensive context-specific hypertension research plan.
Workshop participants listening to a speaker at a control of hypertension session workshop.
A Dissemination and Implementation workshop session for control of hypertension in Rwanda.

Current status

Through our collaborative network with Washington University in St Louis, we have developed a roadmap/milestones for implementation. We have put together a multidisciplinary team of scientists, clinicians, and health care experts, and have undertaken major project implementation strategies.

We have convened stakeholders’ meetings to foster productive dialogue, partnerships and trained a team of scientists on dissemination and implementation research (D&IR).

We have also embarked on a plan to carry out a needs assessment of facilities, resources, and skills required for D&IR for control of hypertension in Rwanda. Our efforts include a continuous robust mentorship plan for trainees to support needs assessment to generate data, to provide evidence for dissemination.

Location

Rwanda is a central African country commonly known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills”, with five volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers, one of them forming the source of the River Nile. The country lies 75 miles south of the equator in the Tropic of Capricorn, 880 miles as the crow flies west of the Indian Ocean and 1,250 miles east of the Atlantic Ocean — literally in the heart of Africa.

Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

Useful links

Strategy

The Regional Alliance for Sustainable Development and the University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences (UR- CMHS) have partnered with Washington University in St Louis, MO, USA, amalgamated resources and expertise for T4TR training efforts. The efforts are geared at implementing skills training through in-country workshops, distance learning/training, and mentorships to develop competencies for dissemination and implementation research (D&IR).

The program will implement T4TR curriculum on competencies retention and post-mentorship for junior Scholars and to train University of Rwanda faculty through the Continuous Medical Education (CME) Accreditation program.

Through this program, qualitative and quantitative tools will be developed and validated, desk reviews conducted on needs assessments for HTN chronic care, capacity, facilities, resources and capabilities for T4TR to support the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce HTN and overall cardiovascular disease morbidities. The goal is to foster and strengthen partnerships at the grassroots community level and to leverage resources with existing training programs for sustainable and independent T4TR capacity.

The programs will prioritize intervention areas to develop a research plan and disseminate findings through community networks, websites, healthcare forums, and resource-sharing databases to guide policy and practice. Through collaboration with steering committee members, the program will evaluate progress based on specific aims, milestones and outcome measures. The plan is to establish the required network and capacity to propose and conduct high impact T4TR on HTN control and substantially impact public health in Rwanda.

Three people sitting at table listening to a presentation.
A cross section of stakeholders from Referral Hospitals and Ministry of Health attending the Dissemination and Implementation for Control of Hypertension in Rwanda workshop.

Dissemination

The project team will communicate the results of the needs assessment and skills development to all stakeholders and Rwandan communities and end users. The goal is to obtain feedback from stakeholders, and to develop a context-specific plan, and utilize well-validated data for control of hypertension (HTN).

This will be carried out through knowledge sharing and utilization by Rwandan communities at all levels, that would potentially be replicated in Africa and other low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The dissemination will target social and cultural Rwandan perspectives in terms of behavioral/habitual activities that strongly influence HTN/CVD related morbidities. The messages are designed to target a particular audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, social classes and other factors.

Dissemination strategies will include: linkage and exchange events to share relevant HTN research syntheses; developing a user-driven dissemination strategy through various media engagements; developing researcher/knowledge user networks especially community health workers (CHW). This particular group will form intermediaries to facilitate knowledge utilization and form a strong bridge between researchers and other knowledge users. These are critical elements for HTN translation; public health awareness and control to support evidence to shape decisions interpret, and adapt evidence to the local Rwandan context.

Team Members

Our project has the support of 2 Principal Investigators, 6 Research Team members and 26 trainees.

Group shot of around 20 students and participants of a workshop sitting outside.
  • Eugene Mutimura

    Eugene Mutimura

    Principal Investigator Rwanda project

    Dr. Eugene Mutimura is the Principal Investigator of the Rwanda study and is currently the Minister of Education in Rwanda

  • Victor Davila-Roman

    Victor Davila-Roman

    Principal Investigator Rwanda project

    Dr. Victor Dávila-Román is a Co-Principal Investigator on the Rwandan study, a cardiologist and a Professor of Medicine, Anesthesiology, and Radiology at the Washington Univesity in Saint Louis.

  • Stephen Karengera

    Co-Investigator Regional Alliance for Sustainable Development
  • Vincent Mutabazi

    Co-Investigator Regional Alliance for Sustainable Development (RASD-Rwanda)
  • Angela L. Brown

    Associate Professor Cardiovascular Division Department of Internal Medicine Washington University in St. Louis
  • Lisa de las Fuentes

    Associate Professor of Medicine & Biostatistics Washington University in St. Louis
  • Ken Schechtman

    Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine Washington University in St. Louis
  • Ana A. Baumann

    Research Assistant Professor Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis Mo
  • Agnes Gatarayiha Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Aimable Musafili Medical Doctor/Researcher University Teaching Hospital of Butare
  • Amedee Fidele Ndibaza Public Health Officer Rwanda Biomedical Center
  • Aurore Nishimwe Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Bienvenu Niyongabo Medical Officer AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Boniface Nsengiyumva Program manager Rwanda Biomedical Center, NCD Division
  • David Mwesigye Medical Doctor Rwanda Military Hospital
  • Donatien Ntagara Ngabo Program manager Rwanda Biomedical Center, Planning
  • Eric Niyomugabo Medical Doctor The University Teaching Hospital of Kigali
  • Godfrey Ngoboka Data Manager Rwanda Biomedical Center, Planning
  • Innocent Ndateba Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Issa Ngabonziza Medical Doctor The University Teaching Hospital of Kigali
  • James Gafirita Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Jean Baptiste Niyibizi Laboratory scientist Mount Kenya University
  • Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana Data Auditor Rwanda Biomedical Center
  • Josephine Uzayisenga Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Julienne Murererehe Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Natacha Mugeni Clinical psychologist Health Development Initiative
  • Peace Uwambaye Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Simeon Tuyishime Medical Doctor AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Valentine Dushimiyimana Public Health Researcher Rwanda Biomedical Center, NCD Division
  • William Rutagengwa Director General Nyamata District Hospital
  • Yves Didier Umwungerimwiza Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda - College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Eliah Shema Assistant lecturer University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Dieudone Kayiranga Nursing Sciences University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Evariste Ntaganda Program manager Rwanda Biomedical Center, NCD Division

Partner Organisations

We are pleased to partner with the following organisations:

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