The Seed of collaboration of University of Liverpool with Makerere University and Mbale Hospital, Ministry of Health, led to the set up of a specialized collaborative research Institute in a more rural setting than Kampala, the Sanyu Africa Research Institute (SAfRI).
SAfRI was set up in Mbale, Eastern Uganda away from the central region of the country. Mbale is a focal point for and close to areas with significant poor health indicators due to numerous health challenges in the country.
With access to low cost innovative technologies and research from SAfRI, many of these health indicators could be improved.
SAfRI enables a tripartite link with the local community, often people talk of ‘a bench to bedside to roadside’link when describing SAfRI. SAfRI gets the ready laboratory works (bench) and ensures it is clinically relevant to the local context from the bedside (hospitals, lower health centres) or to even to the roadside (in a more rural setting) or the community. SAfRI definately addresses the dilemma of clinical significance by context as what is clinically relevant in the UK maybe different from that in developing country settings.
SAfRI offers an important platform for looking at those guidelines produced anywhere in the world and put them into practice, testing out the practical working of those guidelines.
SAfRI provides an important route for international researchers and universities to be able to achieve a connection with real clinical practice and the world, so the guidelines being produced, even at the Ministry of Health (MoH) or even WHO in Geneva or in Liverpool or elsewhere are really relevant to the local setting. Meanwhile, locally, SAfRI offers an important way of bringing together the community with teams in the MoH on the ground, so that if there are guidelines to be put into action by the MoH, then SAfRI has a role in implementing those guidelines and making sure that we provide a model in which they could work.
The institute was established to be used specifically as an organized research site linking to the local community by all academics, students, interested researchers from Makerere University, University of Liverpool, Busitema University and other collaborating institutions or Universities globally.
Alongside, SAfRI producing policy changing research, SAfRI seeks to find and promote inspiring models of clinical practice locally and globally. Through SAfRI, ‘Mbale should be taking forward new models of clinical practice and setting an example both within the country and worldwide.’