Training & Capacity Building

Clinical Research Capacity Building & Training at the University of Namibia (UNAM)

Thanks to the EDCTP funded ScreenTB project, partner institution University of Namibia (UNAM) recently benefitted from a capacity building and training workshop. The training took place at UNAM’s School of Medicine Campus in Windhoek from 21 February to 10 March 2017. 

UNAM research labs invested to develop the set-up of the laboratory’s documentation system, sample flow symmetry between projects and staff, general protocol development for the laboratory, as well as training of staff in order to conform to international standards of Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP).

The management team of this clinical research laboratory used this opportunity during the early stages of the development of the activities for the laboratory to lay good foundations onto which further studies and activities can be built.  

As a result, this UNAM laboratory is now equipped to perform sample collection of various types of human biological samples and processing it. This is supported by trained staff as well as a custom-made documentation system providing intact chain-of custody, and documentation-, sample- and data security, in order to ensure high quality and trusted sample material. Furthermore, the laboratory now has the potential to perform basic immune- and molecular experiments including bead based cell isolations, cell culture, ELISA, DNA- and RNA isolations, PCR and QPCR which will be exploited in the near future in order to perform more local studies on site. In addition, staff had been trained to develop further management programs which include risk assessment, quality control and creating further documentation should it be required in future.

This capacity building project, including the training workshop, provided the first steps towards an internationally recognized laboratory to perform basic activities during clinical trials in a manner that conforms to international guidelines for Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and GCLP. As each clinical site and combination of services at its facilities are different from each other and therefore pose unique challenges, UNAM benefitted from this project in acquiring the services from a consultant to develop site-specific processes and documentation for the 3-year ScreenTB project. This also supports other activities in the lab, mostly related to molecular drug resistance testing in TB. Based on the foundation laid, UNAM has now the potential to grow its research capacity in a setting were HIV and TB are still major health priorities. The lab and clinical research unit will be capable to attract more studies and funding as a result of the consultation, the personnel trained and the research infrastructures implemented.