Dr Toyin Togun Awarded GCRF Challenge Cluster Grant for Post-TB Lung Health in Children in Africa

23 November 2020
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Challenge Cluster Grant to Dr Toyin Togun, Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, for Post-TB Lung Health in Children in Africa. The grant, which is part of the UKRI GCRF Collective Programme, will be hosted at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM.

The challenge cluster grant will establish a multi-country and multi-disciplinary collaborative research network to increase awareness, and create a platform for clinical, epidemiological and applied health research on PostTuberculosis Lung Health (PTBLH) in children and adolescents in Africa.

The grant also has underpinning support by key regional and international research and advocacy networks, including the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS); International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union’); TB PROOF – a global advocacy community of TB survivors; and the West African Paediatric TB Network (WApTBNet) – a sub-network of the EDCTP-funded West African Network for TB, AIDS and Malaria (EDCTP-WANETAM) consortium.

Dr Toyin Togun, the principal investigator of this challenge cluster grant for post-TB lung health in children in Africa and project leader said, “With this stage-1 grant, we have developed the very first online training programme on paediatric spirometry and PTBLH in children in Africa in collaboration with our partners in PATS, and we will start delivering the training modules on the CANVAS eLearning platform of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) at the end of November 2020. Participants include paediatricians, general physicians and nurses selected from several African countries. In addition, an international practical training programme on paediatric spirometry for African healthcare workers, and another international participatory workshop for TB survivors, policy makers and advocacy organisations, will be organized and hosted at the MRCG at LSHTM in 2021. With these activities, we hope to begin advocacy towards increasing the awareness of post-TB lung health specifically in children among health care workers, TB-affected communities and TB policy makers across sub-Sahara Africa. We will also set up a multi-country research platform in Africa for the establishment of prospective cohorts through which we aim to start generating primary research data on PTBLH in children in sub-Sahara Africa in the second stage.”

Professor Beate Kampmann, Vaccines and Immunity Theme Leader at the MRCG at LSHTM and a co-Investigator on the award said, “This award builds beautifully on the achievements of the Childhood TB research team at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and further extends the leadership role of Dr Toyin Togun to shape the collaborations with our West African network partners, including the MRCG at LSHTM’s West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA) and WANETAM, in this important and much neglected area of the long-term outcomes of children who suffer from TB.”

Other co-investigators on this grant include Professor Kevin Mortimer and Dr Uzochukwu Egere from the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Lung Health and TB in Africa at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).

Link to the announcement: https://www.ukri.org/news/ukri-announces-international-development-research-programme-awards/