November 2014

A monthly means to inform and inspire our TEAM

November 2014
Vol. 5, No. 11

New Technologies

Dr. Esther Kawira at APHFTA

Dr. Esther Kawira at APHFTA.

The theme of the 2nd EMBLEM Status Update and Scientific meeting at Kisumu in Kenya in September 2014, "Burkitt Lymphoma Research in East Africa: Leveraging New Technologies to Answer Old Questions" was a popular one this year.  In November, a similar theme on new technologies called together members of the Association of Private Health Facilities of Tanzania (APHFTA).  The technologies discussed represented a wide spectrum within the field of medicine, such as cardiac imaging techniques and new ways of producing designer drugs for malignancies.  Dr. Esther Kawira, the EMBLEM PI for Tanzania, was able to draw on the discussions and perspectives from the EMBLEM meeting in Kenya to give a talk on EMBLEM and the new technologies being brought to bear in Burkitt Lymphoma (BL) research. 

Another speaker congratulated Tanzania for having reached one of the targets of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) #6, namely that of reducing severe malaria/malaria deaths by half.  When Dr. Kawira suggested that achievement of MDG #6 may be reducing BL cases to the point of their disappearance before the research is complete, she was assured by others that the war against malaria is far from over, and BL cases will therefore continue to appear and need research for some time to come. Ironically, although BL is associated with malaria (and HIV), both targets of MDG #6,   BL is not listed as a condition of interest and, as a result, it has not benefited from the increased attention MDG #6 has brought to malaria and HIV in Africa.

- Dr. Esther Kawira - Editor


EMBLEM Samples shipped to NCI
EMBLEM Samples shipped to NCI

EMBLEM Samples shipped to NCI

EMBLEM Uganda enrollment numbers stand at 582 (369 males, 213 females) screened and spotted and 308 (195 males, 113 females) eligible and enrolled.

EMBLEM Uganda is in the process of completing the last phase of matched control enrollment in West Nile. A total of 77 out of 88 villages have been completed. It has been a job well-done. The team also successfully shipped close to 10,000 vials of samples from Uganda to the NCI.  EMBLEM stores half of the samples collected in East Africa and ships the other half to the NCI. In Uganda, EMBLEM samples are stored in dedicated freezers at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.  


Ms. Pamela Were giving a talk at Migori

Ms. Pamela Were giving a talk at Migori

In the month of November, 14 cases (9 males, 5 females) were spotted giving a cumulative total of 485 (307 males, 178 females) spotted. Of the 14 spotted 7 (6 males, 1 female) were eligible and enrolled giving a total of 185 eligible and enrolled (134 males, 51 females).

The EMBLEM Kenya team completed their plans for enrolling matched population controls. The plan involves three basic steps: a) selecting the actual control villages, where controls will be enrolled; b) identifying and training extension workers, called Community Research Assistants (CRAs), and c) visiting the villages to enroll controls. EMBLEM staff is completing step b of this plan.

As part of this plan, the EMBLEM Study Coordinator in Kenya, Pamela Were, gave a talk about EMBLEM in Migori County and responded to questions about how EMBLEM is being conducted and how the community and patients will benefit by supporting EMBLEM. About 50 community members attended the meeting.


Eight new cases were spotted in Tanzania during the month bringing the cumulative total of cases spotted to 426 (235 males, 191 females). Of the 8 new cases, 4 were eligible and enrolled bringing the total of enrolled cases to 95 (56 males, 39 females).

The team received a list of selected wards for matched control enrollment. The next step is to work with the National Bureau of statistics to get list of villages in the selected wards were the actual control enrollment will take place. Also a comprehensive work plan will be developed to specify all tasks to be done to facilitate and implement the control enrollment.



Successful African PIs mentoring

EMBLEM principal investigators share the view that long-term benefits from EMBLEM will be realized, not only from its scientific results, which are likely to be ground breaking, but mostly from health system strengthening of the countries and regions where EMBLEM is being conducted.  Thus, the collaboration with Fogarty International Center to develop a Principal Investigator orientation workshop at Kisumu   with a follow-up component  at the Center for AIDS Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) are important milestones in the vision for EMBLEM to strengthen capacity for local research leadership and to elevate that leadership to the international standard. These new leaders, who have shown ability to collaborate, will now have an opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to propose, implement, and report findings within the context of EMBLEM as well as other contexts.

EMBLEM Newsletter is a monthly on-line publication based on contributions of the EMBLEM Study staff.
Editor: Dr. Esther Kawira
Reporters: EMBLEM Uganda – Esther Birungi; EMBLEM Kenya – Pam Akinyi Were; EMBLEM Tanzania – Herry Dhuda