Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)

Partnership objective

Build capacity of health systems in Africa for the delivery of sustainable, high quality care and prevention of HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases through training, research and advanced clinical services.

Since 2004, the IDI has trained over 6,800 healthcare providers trained in HIV, malaria, clinical pharmacology, research and systems strengthening from 27 African countries. Since 2004, the IDI has trained over 6,800 healthcare providers trained in HIV, malaria, clinical pharmacology, research and systems strengthening from 27 African countries. Copyright Mark Tuschman

What are the health needs and challenges?

Four million health care workers are needed to fill the gap in developing countries—not only specialists such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians—but also health care management and support workers.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In 2004, Pfizer, Accordia Global Health Foundation, Makerere University, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation and other organizations partnered to establish the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) within the Makerere University of Uganda to improve health in Africa by training medical professionals and providing them with skills and resources to use in their communities. The IDI built its research capacity in Africa by pairing promising new investigators with established researchers from North America and Europe, and through mentoring arrangements and fellowships.

By enhancing the stature and recognition of the Faculty of Medicine at Makerere University, Pfizer's support of the IDI helped to reverse the trend of African healthcare professionals pursuing career opportunities abroad. African doctors, medical scientists, and other healthcare professionals can now pursue their clinical interests in a world-class academic medical setting and serve their home countries and people.

The partnership has had an important contribution in supporting the establishment of different IDI clinics to tackle existing or emerging, but unaddressed health issues affecting the Ugandan society.

An integrated HIV/TB Clinic was formed in late 2009. In the first year alone, more than 2,500 patients were screened for TB and approximately 240 patients have been diagnosed with TB and started on treatment.

In 2008, a Transitional Clinic for adolescents and young adults aged 16-24 was instituted to meet the unique challenges of this population group, whose needs were formerly unmet in either the paediatric unit or the adult clinic. To date, 480 young people have been registered, and are offered excellent clinical care and specialized psycho-social support. The Transition clinic held weekly peer support meetings, skills-building, IEC materials and outreach through drama by members.

Based on studies in Uganda showing a shift in the way HIV is spread, a Discordant Couple’s Clinic was also established to provide specialized clinical care using positive prevention techniques (prevention efforts directed towards individuals living with HIV), peer support meetings, and IEC materials.

Lessons learned

Through the diversification of IDI’s clinics, there are several lessons learned as well as opportunity to continue to research to improve on these specialized services.

A TB working group was formed to focus on improving TB/HIV care for patients at IDI, standardize TB prevention, diagnosis and follow-up procedures, and increase involvement of medical officers in TB management. There are many opportunities for research, specialized training in TB/HIV co-infection and collaborative activities in this field.

Adolescents and young adults infected with HIV face many challenges. One of the most significant is frequent lack of financial stability—since the majority of them have dropped out of school and need support to secure their financial independence. The Transition Clinic is a new model of care that has dramatically changed the lives of a number of young adults. The institute is exploring the potential for increasing the capacity of this specialised clinic and exporting this model of care to other service providers within Uganda. Efforts are being made to support the skill and entrepreneurial development among HIV-positive youth, which will go a long way in improving the welfare of these young people.

The theories on causes of discordance in sub-Saharan Africa are not yet properly understood, and there is a need for additional research on this topic.

Summary of impact through December 2013 and forward looking information

Since 2004, the IDI has trained over 6,800 healthcare providers trained in HIV, malaria, clinical pharmacology, research and systems strengthening from 27 African countries. IDI-trained workers indicate they have trained, on average 20 additional healthcare workers per month. IDI provides quality care and treatment to over 37,000 patients with outreach to 376,000 individuals.

The Institute also publishes research publications, abstracts and research projects, with the goal of improving regional healthcare policy and practice and developing new generation of independent African researchers. IDI and Academic Alliance members also mentor Masters and PhD students.

The partnership reinforced IDI as a well-established institution; internationally recognized for building the capacity of health systems in Africa for the delivery of sustainable, high quality care and prevention of HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases through training, research and advanced clinical services. It is an integral part of the Ugandan health system. IDI serves as a model for a sustainable, locally- owned, regional Center of Excellence that is transforming the quality of care across the continent.

In 2013, a West African Infectious Diseases Institute (WAIDI) established in Abuja, Nigeria as a multi?institutional center of excellence for advanced research and training. 

Although 2012 marked the end of Pfizer’s operational support in the short term, Pfizer partners with the IDI and WAIDI through Pfizer’s Global Health Fellows program.

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Infectious Diseases Institute, Uganda

Partnership information

Company(ies) Pfizer

Partner(s) Accordia Global Health Foundation, BD (Becton Dickinson), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ExxonMobil, Gilead Sciences, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Makerere University, Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, US President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Wellcome Trust

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, Multilaterals, NGOs, Other Business, PDPs

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training, Research & Development - Development of Treatments

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Men, Mothers, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 26

Country(ies) Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2002

More information Pfizer Responsibility

Completed date 2013