By studying the genes of people with HIV and TB, scientists have developed new therapies to suppress or prevent infections. But the vast majority of genetic research takes place outside of Africa on non-African populations, and studies involving African children are completely absent. The Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) aims to close this data gap. In 2014, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave Botswana-Baylor $3.64 million to provide expertise and patient recruitment for the project. In addition to genomics research, the CAfGEN supports training of African genomic scientists and building scientific infrastructure in the participating countries, Botswana, Swaziland and Uganda. The first phase of the project ended in August 2017, and NIH awarded a second grant, totaling up to $5 million to implement a five-year phase two, which began in September. Also collaborating on CAfGEN are Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation - Swaziland, Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation - Uganda, the University of Botswana Department of Biological Sciences, and Makerere University in Uganda.
As part of the CAfGEN project, the COE conducted the Genetic Medicine for Nurses in Africa training course, offered to all nurses working at Botswana-Baylor. This is a free, distance-learning course designed for nurses in Africa to increase knowledge in genetics of African health issues and to build skills in genetic counselling, community engagement, ethical conduct in research, and patient care. Thirteen nurses attended the training, which is accredited by the University of Cape Town.
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