Pioneering TB-HIV Solutions: Prof Makhado’s GENIUS-CARE Project Elevates Healthcare with South African Medical Research Council SAMRC Funding

The University of Venda is thrilled to announce that Prof Lufuno Makhado has secured substantial funding (close to R1m over 18 months) from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for the groundbreaking project “Genotyping Integration: Enhancing RR-TB-HIV Co-infection Management in South African Primary Care Clinics – A Comparative Research Endeavor (GENIUS-CARE).” This project aims to revolutionise the management of co-infected RR-TB and HIV patients by integrating genotyping into the Nurse-Initiated Management of Drug Resistant TB (NIMDR-TB) nurses’ roles in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The GENIUS-CARE project was initiated in response to the SAMRC Grants Innovation and Product Development’s (GIPD) “Request for Application: HDI Capacity Development Grants for Investigator-Initiated Research: HIV Implementation Science in the Clinical Setting” by the SAMRC. This call aimed to enhance research capacity and foster international collaboration and mentoring in historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) in South Africa in partnership with Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the USA.

Prof Makhado, a Full Professor in the Department of Public Health and the Deputy Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies, is recognised for his extensive research
in public health, with a particular focus on health systems to strengthen integrated HIV-TB co-infection and non-communicable disease (NCD) management. The GENIUS-CARE project is expected to enhance the capacity of Clinical Nurse Practitioners, improve patient outcomes, and align with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations for decentralised patient-centred models of care. This initiative promises better health quality and cost savings for the community. Prof Makhado said, “Addressing critical health challenges and fostering advancements in healthcare delivery, research capacity, and intellectual property creation enhances the University of Venda’s reputation”. Prof Makhado’s collaboration with mentor, Prof Jason E. Farley from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON), the Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease and Nursing Innovation (CIDNI), and other distinguished team members is vital for the success of the nested project within the BringBPaL2Me Trial. Dr Norbert Ndjeka, the Director of the South African National TB Programme, connects the project to the National Clinical Guidelines Committee, ensuring the utilisation of study-derived evidence. Prof Denise Evans, a principal scientist at the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office, contributes her expertise in the financial and practical aspects of Whole Genome Sequencing for the TB programme, aligning with the project’s objectives.

With appreciation, Prof Makhado added, “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife, Dr Thendo Gertie Makhado, for her unwavering support throughout the writing of this grant proposal. Additionally, I extend my gratitude to my national and international mentors and collaborators (Prof Farley, Dr Ndjeka and Prof Evans) who have contributed their expertise and insights to this project. I am also immensely grateful to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Postgraduate Studies, the Director of Research and Innovation and the Department of Public Health HoD at the University of Venda for their constant motivation and encouragement.” The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Nosisi Feza as she congratulates Prof Makhado said “It is with great joy to receive this good news. The University of Venda community is proud of this significant achievement and eagerly anticipates the positive impact of Prof Makhado’s research on public health in South Africa and beyond.”

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 07 March 2024

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