Multimorbidity research project secures funding

HCRI and partner organisations secure funding for new research collaboration to identify multimorbidity in sub-Saharan African hospitals.

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at University of Manchester in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and five partner organisations have secured funding from National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to design and test a system that identifies patients suffering from multiple chronic diseases (multimorbidity) when they seek emergency care in sub-Saharan African hospitals.

The Multilink consortium, administered through LSTM, aims to research ways to identify multimorbidity (such as high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV) by improving diagnostic tests in emergency departments in hospitals in Malawi and Tanzania. The overall aim is to improve early disease treatment, ensure better follow up (prevent complications, disability and hospital readmission), thus improving health related quality of life and survival rates.

As part of this programme of work, the Multilink consortium have funded four multidisciplinary PhDs, who will lead the main research areas in the disciplines of clinical medicine; health economics; health systems; and social science. Multilink co-investigator Professor Paul Dark, from the University of Manchester through HCRI, is providing project expertise and PhD co-supervision in rapid diagnosis in emergency care and advising on evidence and policy for resilient health systems.

Through collaborative partnerships in Malawi and Tanzania, the team will define how multimorbidity differs from high-income countries so that the intervention is locally relevant, and then test it in a clinical trial across both countries. The leadership team includes Charity Salima, a community group leader in Malawi, ensuring that patients’ voices are driving the research agenda.

After mapping how the health system works, they will work with policymakers and patients to find the most efficient and preferred approach to testing and clinical management pathways.

This research was funded by the NIHR (project reference NIHR201708) using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the UK government.