UNC Goes to Africa

UNC's Center for HIV/STDs and Infectious Disease is comprised of a dedicated group of scientists. A significant portion of their research takes place overseas in China, India, Thailand, Russia, Haiti and several countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Malawi, Madagascar and South Africa. Their work is designed to make discoveries in HIV/AIDS, STDs, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, as well as the nutrition and general health of children and adults. The results of UNC research have had global ramifications.

UNC has worked in Africa for the past 20 years, most intensively in South Africa and Malawi. For the next two weeks, I will be traveling in South Africa and Malawi to visit the students, faculty and staff working with UNC's infectious disease programs in those countries. I will also meet our partners at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

UNC has had a major impact in South Africa and Malawi. Conversely, work in these countries has greatly enriched UNC. I am hoping that my visit will lead to even further opportunities and collaboration.

To share my experiences with you, and bring you a little bit closer to our friends in Africa, I will be posting blog entries throughout my travels. You can read my entries here and at share.triangle.com.

Here is my first entry:

    Greetings from London’s Heathrow Airport. I arrived here overnight, and am about to go to Brussels for a meeting. Then tomorrow night I leave for Africa.

    I am making this long-planned trip to visit UNC’s very substantial programs and partners in South Africa and Malawi, to learn first-hand what the global health challenges there are, and what we and others are doing to meet them.

    I have visited these countries before, but some time ago and never have I done so as a Tar Heel.

    In two days, I will be at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. There I will meet with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice Chancellor of the University. Our principal partner there is Dr. Ian Sanne, the Clinical Director of the Clinical HIV Research Unit at Wits.

    My time in Johannesburg will be guided by Dr. Charlie van der Horst, UNC’s leader in HIV and infectious diseases. He is a visiting faculty member at Wits.

    I have long wanted to take this trip, as I have heard many, many times about the exciting and important work our faculty are doing in Global Health and in infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS in particular. The challenges faced by the people of Africa are huge, but there is progress in many areas.

    I am really looking forward to this trip. I want to learn a lot, get to know our colleagues and partners and discuss how we can be even more involved in Global Health from Chapel Hill.

    I already feel a long way from South Columbia Street and Manning Drive more traveling to come!

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