The center’s vision is to promote evidence-based research to help find solutions to local and regional health problems with a global scope. The center also intends to improve teaching activities by providing an internship framework for students as well as research space and structured mentoring for graduate students (master’s and doctoral projects).

Lines of research

The center is opened to different types of research ranging from basic sciences to clinical research, operational research, implementation science and research synthesis to inform policy, emphasizing specificities to tropical settings. The following areas are considered priorities: (i) communicable diseases, (ii) non-communicable diseases, (iii) their interaction and (iv) a transversal domain, the socio-anthropology approach to understand how communities interpret health phenomena and what motivate their behavior.

– Communicable diseases

This first line focuses on research in various fields of infectious diseases as seen in the tropical region (Malaria, cholera, Tuberculosis, HIV, Hemorrhagic fever, COVID-19, etc). It includes the study of pathogens, vectors and potential reservoirs as well as the host response. A particular focus is being developed for the study of zoonosis in a One Health approach, a human-animal-environment interface. We also focus on implementing infection and prevention control units in health structures.

– Non-communicable diseases

This second line deals with research questions related to chronic and degenerative diseases, nutritional pathologies and their links with other health conditions. Here, studies investigate the interactions between both communicable and non-communicable diseases and their impacts on the quality of life. We also focus on the risk attributable of emerging risk factors such as air pollution on the current burden of the aforementioned diseases.

Tuberculosis

The Center harbors a Mycobacteriology unit where molecular techniques are used to detect multidrug resistant tuberculosis for the first and second lines regimens (Hain Test) and on the way to implement Thin Layer Agar (TLA) for mycobacterial culture in a Biosafety level 2 (BSL2) laboratory. This work is done in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis program of the DRC. A PhD student is carrying out this project and will soon be joined by a master student who will work on a subset of the project. The implementation of the TLA technique will be funded partly by the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp. The project will also map the MDR strains circulating in the Great Lake region in collaboration with the Rwanda Biomedical Center.  The PhD student is partly funded by Ghent University.

Research activities are being implemented to study specificities of tuberculosis among artisanal miners, and also looking at the impact of household air pollution on the clinical evolution of patients with tuberculosis and HIV-infection.

Cholera

An active unit of the CTDGH focuses its research work on Cholera and other enteric pathogens. It is about to start an RCT to study the best way to prevent secondary infections from a household with a confirmed case. This work is being done in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University with a grant from the Wellcome Trust.

Emerging diseases

In line with the surveillance of arboviruses, a master student is currently looking at antibodies anti-Dengue in sera collected from the region. This work brings together researchers from UCB and their colleagues from the University of Nairobi.

Currently, the surveillance of some zoonosis includes the screening of mycobacteria (tuberculosis complex and non-tuberculosis) among human and non-human primates, antibodies anti Leptospira spp,and those anti SARS Cov-2 (COVID-19).

The Center hosts the provincial laboratory for molecular diagnosis of SARS-Cov-2 under the Ministry of health and actively contributes to the national and regional response to the on-going pandemic.

Another project will soon bring together UCB & Johns Hopkins University to study determinants of acceptance by people in Bukavu of public health & social measures introduced by the Government of the DRC against COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaria

Researchers from UCB and their colleagues from the University of Nairobi are assessing the performances of histine rich protein 2 (HRP2) based rapid diagnostic test against polymerase chain reaction during pregnancy in South Kivu.

Infections and nutrition

Regarding the interaction “Infection-Nutrition”, following research done for his PhD on the same topic, a postdoc fellow is working on the effect of malaria and micronutrients status (iron, zinc, vitamin A) on anemia among preschool children and women of childbearing age.

Sepsis

The CTDGH takes part in the  Baseline African Sepsis Incidence Survey (BASIS), a multi-country project aiming at providing robust estimates of the sepsis  burden in 10 African countries, in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Non-communicable diseases

 Working with Glyconics, a British society specialized in diagnostics innovation, researchers from UCB will test in the field the prototype of a pioneer portable machine to diagnose diabetes at a low cost and without collecting blood sample.

Esto Bahizire, MD, PhD

Co-founder and Director

Dr. Bahizire is a medical doctor trained in Medical Microbiology (Univ. of Nairobi) and in Epidemiology-Public Health (Free Univ. of Brussels) and has more than 10 years of experience in research and teaching. He also has experience outside academia as a clinician and a public health practitioner and project manager supporting primary health care projects working in national and international organizations in collaboration with the Ministry of health. He is currently leading the Center for Tropical Diseases and Global Health at the Catholic University of Bukavu.

Fields of Research

* Microbiology & Infectious Diseases Epidemiology
* Micronutrient, Maternal and Child Global Health

Contact

esto.bahizire@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Patrick de Marie Katoto, MD, Msc, PhD

Co-founder and Co-director

Patrick Katoto is a clinician, vaccinologist, epidemiologist, and global health expert with more than a decade of working experience as a clinician, academic, and advisor for multiple public and private health agencies. He has worked on various projects of global health concern and produced evidence to inform decision making to address HIV, tuberculosis, vaccine uptake, non-communicable diseases, and household air pollution in resource-limited settings. He is co-investigator of the Baseline African Sepsis Incidence Survey (Liverpool school of tropical medicine) and of the StatinTB trial (University of Cape Town), a proof-of-concept study to reduce post-tuberculosis lung diseases. He teaches on the course on Globalization and Sustainable Development at the University of Hasselt, Belgium and at the pan African thoracic society (Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research across Africa). He held a Fogarty Fellow (HIV research training program in LMICs) by the university of Pittsburgh and Stellenbosch University and he is consultant at the Cochrane South Africa, at the South Africa Medical Research Council on project related to vaccine implementation and serves as academic and associated editor for PLOS Global Public Health and Pan African Medical Journal respectively.

Fields of Research

* COVID-19 and other Vaccine Preventable Diseases and, vaccine uptake and effectiveness
* Epidemiology and management of sepsis as seen in low- and middle-income countries and Infection Prevention and Control
* HIV/AIDS-cardiovascular diseases: pulmonary hypertension/ metabolic syndrome
* Tuberculosis and Post-tuberculosis cardiorespiratory diseases
* Health effects of air pollution, Hallmarks of earlier cellular senescence (telomere length and mtDNA) and health outcomes
*Research methodology, Clinical Trial and Evidence to Inform Decision Making (Systematic reviews, Clinical guidelines development, GRADEpro)

Contact

katoto.chimusa@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Tony Shindano Akilimali, MD, MMed, PhD

Co-founder

Tony B. Shindano Akilimali is a medical graduate of the Catholic University of Bukavu (UCB), trained in Hepatology and Gastroenterology at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), in Morocco (Mohamed V University) and Italy (Università Cattolica del SacroCuore).

He currently works as a Gastroenterology Consultant, a Professor of medicine and a Researcher (UCB). His areas of interest are liver diseases (optimization of prevention and management of viral hepatitis, prevention of NASH) as well as Helicobacter pylori infection and related complications. He is a member of several scientific societies including the Congolese Society of Gastroenterology and the Sub-Sahara African Hepatitis C Network.

Contact

shindano.akilimali@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Marius Baguma, MD, MMed, PhD

Co-founder

Marius Baguma is a medical doctor, specialist in Internal medicine (UCB, D.R.C.) and holder of a medical partial specialized master in Neurology (UCLouvain, Belgium) and of a PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences/Neuroscience (UHasselt, Belgium). He works as a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine of the Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) and is the Head of the Neurology Ward in the Department of Internal Medicine of the Hôpital Provincial Général de Référence de Bukavu (HPGRB), in Bukavu, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.). His current research interests are mainly focused on non-communicable and neurological diseases, with a particular emphasis on the neurovascular and neurotoxicological diseases. His current projects are about 1) the characterization of the epidemiological, clinical, and prognostic profile of stroke patients in the sub-Saharan Africa, especially in South-Kivu, an eastern province of the DRC, and 2) a better understanding of the determinants, risk factors, and etiopathogenesis of konzo, a tropical toxico-nutritional neurological disease characterized by a non-progressive symmetric spastic paraparesis of sudden-onset.

Fields of Research

* Neurosciences
* Tropical neuro-epidemiology
* Neuro-toxicology

Contact

baguma.akonkwa@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Espoir Bwenge Malembaka, MD, MPH, PhD

Co-founder

Espoir Bwenge Malembaka graduated in Medicine from the Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB), trained in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Makerere University in Ugand a, and earned a PhD in public health from the University of Louvain in Belgium. While working at the UCB, he played a key role in the design and conduct of field epidemiological studies in conflict and post-conflict settings of the DRC. Espoir is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University, working as the DRC country supervisor of a research project aiming to assess the impact of mass oral cholera vaccination campaigns on cholera incidence and transmission dynamics in eastern DRC.

Fields of Research

* Vaccine preventable diseases
* Humanitarian health

Contact

bwenge.malembaka@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Fabrice Cikomola Gulimwentuga, MD, MMed

Fabrice G. Cikomola earned his medical degree at Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) and specialized in general surgeon at the Catholic university of Louvain (Belgium) and the University of Burundi. He works as a lecturer at UCB and as the head of the general and pediatric surgery unit in the department of surgery at the Hôpital Provincial Général de Référence de Bukavu (HPGRB). Fabrice’s research activities focus on non-communicable diseases, with an emphasis on the diabetic foot, and the association between mining activities and birth defects in Eastern DR Congo.

Patrick Musole Bugeme, MD

Researcher

Patrick Musole Bugeme is a research officer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he works as a research data coordinator of a research project aiming to assess the impact of mass oral cholera vaccination campaigns on cholera incidence and transmission dynamics in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He obtained his medical degree from the Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) in 2021. During his medical training at the UCB, Patrick oversaw a scientific research group for students and played a key role in the design and conduct of student-led research projects. Within the CTDGH, Dr Musole works with other group members on vaccines hesitancy in Eastern DRC.

Fields of Research

* Infectious diseases
* Non-communicable diseases and global health

Contact

pbugeme1@jhmi.edu

Arsène Daniel NYALUNDJA, MD

An aspiring neurosurgeon-scientist and medical doctor graduated at Université Catholique de Bukavu (U.C.B). His passion for improving equitable access to quality surgical care has led him to join numerous international organizations, including the International Network of Surgical Students (inciSioN), where he has focused on the challenges facing surgical care systems at the national and international levels especially in low- and middle-income countries. Later, he became a member of the Global Neurosurgery Committee World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (GNC-WFNS), where he helped improve neurosurgical education, practice, and research in Tanzania and Senegal. As a research associate at the Association of Future African Neurosurgeons (AFAN), Dr. Nyalundja has published more than ten articles in peer-reviewed journals. Besides publications, he is a certified Publons Academy peer reviewer and serves as an associate editor at the PanAfrican Medical Journal (PAMJ). Dr. Nyalundja is also involved with the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anesthesia Care (G4 Alliance) to advocate for neglected surgical patients in francophone countries. Dr. Nyalundja works to build a global surgery unit within the CTDGH in collaboration with other members.

Fields of Research

* Non-communicable diseases
* Global Health and Neurology
* Global surgery and Global Neurosurgery
* Neurological surgery
* Research methodology

Contact

nyalu_arse.adn@outlook.com

David LUPANDE Mwenebitu, MD, MMed, MSc, PhD

Clinical Microbiologist, graduated from Université Catholique de Bukavu, and holds a medical microbiology degree and a Master’s degree in Ecology and Management of infectious diseases from Université de Kinshasa.

His research interest is in the mechanisms, spread and management of antibiotics resistance. He also has an expertise in bio-clinical diagnosis and infectious diseases risk management, especially for emerging diseases.

During his PhD training at the Institut Hospitalier Universitaire Méditerranée Infection at Aix-Marseille University in France, he worked on the characterization of multi-resistant Gram-negative bacilli in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Contact

lupande2000@gmail.com
lupande.mwenebitu@ucbukavu.ac.cd

Serge Zigabe MUSHAMUKA, MD, MMed

Trained in medicine and pediatrics at Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Université de Liège (Belgium). He works as a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at UCB and a pediatrician in the neonatology intensive care unit of the Department of Pediatrics of the Hôpital Provincial Général de Référence de Bukavu (HPGRB) in the eastern DRC.

Serge is pursuing a PhD degree at the faculty of Medicine of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. His current research interests focus on non-communicable diseases and household air pollution in resource-limited settings. His current project is about the correlation between early exposure to household air pollution (HAP-including biomass fuels and tobacco) and its effects on the microbiome (Gut-respiratory-axis), growth and respiratory health during the first year of life in South-Kivu, DRC.

Fields of Research

*Pediatrics-neonatology
*Neonatal sepsis
*Health effect of air pollution, early exposure to household air pollution and health outcomes
*Microbiome and child growth

Contact

zigabe.mushamuka@ucbukavu.ac.cd