September 9, 2020

The Republic of Mozambique, a Portuguese-speaking country of 28 million people on the southeast coast of Africa, has experienced significant economic growth and distinct progress in improving health indicators over the past two decades. Since the end of a devastating civil war in 1992, health has been a government priority, particularly in response to the crushing burden of HIV/AIDS (the 2015 national prevalence was estimated at 13.2% among adults aged 15-49 years). The UN’s 2018 Human Development Index ranks Mozambique 180th out of the world’s 189 countries.

While national efforts to expand HIV health care service delivery have focused on strengthening community-based and regional clinics, there has simultaneously been significant targeted investment to build infrastructure and human capacity in HIV research, innovation, and health education. Medical research, including epidemiologic and health services research, has grown dramatically. This growth has stemmed from both international collaborative projects, such as our current D43 Partnership for Research in Implementation Science- Mozambique (PRISM) award between the Faculty of Medicine at University Eduardo Mondale (UEM) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and also from Mozambique’s increased emphasis on research as a key component of professional and graduate education in biomedical sciences and public health.

We seek to substantially build upon the groundwork laid by the PRISM collaboration for HIV implementation science research capacity at UEM, Mozambique’s principal medical school.  Through a series of PRISM evaluations, we have identified two areas for which UEM needs further infrastructure development to better serve the growth in research initiatives.  We propose here the UEM-Vanderbilt Academic Partnership for Enhancements in Research (APER) program which will focus on further strengthening UEM´s local HIV research capacity through targeted capacity building in Grants Management and Biostatistics, two significant gaps identified in current capacity building activities.

Our Specific Aims are to 1) Promote sustainability and increased faculty competitiveness in grants management through capacitation of the newly created UEM Office of Project Support in coordination with the Faculty of Medicine Administration/Finance Office; and to 2) Develop a Biostatistics “Core” within UEM´s Implementation Science Unit to provide biostatistics support to faculty and students in the conduct of their research.