We work with international partners in countries across the world to undertake global health research. International research has not only increased our knowledge and understanding about a number of health issues but it has also highlighted pivotal information and led to pioneering projects to develop healthcare services for global patient benefit.
For over 20 years Professor Richard Walker (our Director of Research and Development) has worked with local research teams in Tanzania at the Hai district demographic surveillance site (DSS). Most of this research is based around the epidemiology of neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and epilepsy but also including important risk factors such as hypertension and atrial fibrillation.
More recently, our research focus on care of the elderly with current research, along with colleagues in Nigeria, investigating diagnosis and treatment for dementia. Our research has included the only community based stroke incidence project in sub-Saharan Africa which demonstrated some of the highest stroke incidence rates in the world. We also carried out the first prevalence study of PD in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Professor Walker is Chair of the African Task Force of the Movement Disorder Society and through this has organised PD nurse specialist courses throughout Africa in 2012, as well as courses for doctors. He is part of the faculty for a two year neurology training initiative in East Africa from 2016 funded by the East African Development Bank and organised in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians, London. Other colleagues in the Trust who are involved with this research include Dr Catherine Dotchin and Dr Keith Gray. All the research initiatives have involved training of local staff, contributing to workforce development in East Africa.
Our international research programmes have expanded over the years and we now work with partners in other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, to undertake further collaborative projects. Projects have gained national and international acclaim, with many published in distinguished academic journals and publications, such as The Lancet, Lancet Neurology and Lancet Global Health.
We also facilitate global research opportunities for national and international medical students and academics by working closely with local universities and our international partners. Over the years, over 50 Tanzanian medical students have undertaken elective placements in our hospitals and Newcastle medical students have had similar opportunities in Tanzania. Over 20 UK medical students have had the opportunity to undertake research projects in Tanzania while intercalating for a Masters degree. Five UK doctors have completed higher degrees based on research in Tanzania and Tanzanians have also had the opportunity to undertake higher degrees.