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NINDS Delegation Tours Neurology Research and Education Programs in Zambia

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Zambia Team

A team from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has travelled to Zambia and met with U.S. and Zambian researchers and clinicians who have been building a decades-long partnership to address the neurological burden of diseases like cerebral malaria, HIV, and stroke.

The constellation of research, education, and clinical activities that the NINDS team reviewed during their visit owe their origin to partnerships first formed by University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Gretchen Birbeck, M.D., back in 1994.  Birbeck’s research in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily Zambia, aims at identifying risk factors and effective treatments for the neurological problems common in resource-limited tropical settings.  She also see patients in Zambia, where she spends five to six months per year, and serves as the director for Chikankata's Epilepsy Care Team in Zambia's rural Southern Province and principal for the Neurology Research Office at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

In partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Health, UTH, the University of Zambia, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, and other institutions, these efforts have grown to include a wide range of complementary neurological research, training, and care programs based in Zambia.  The Neurology Research Office established by Birbeck on the main UTH campus serves as hub for many of these efforts, which have received more than $15 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations and foundations over the past 29 years. 

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