In 1988, a unique research collaboration was started with a meeting at the Makerere University Medical School between Ugandan clinicians and USA researchers working in the field of perinatal HIV infection.The two groups of investigators agreed on the importance of answering questions on mother- to-child transmission of the HIV virus during a time when the HIV/AIDS pandemic was spreading rapidly in Uganda.
Each of the two respective groups of investigators at Makerere University and the U.S. Johns Hopkins University sites brought unique and diverse strengths to planning the collaborative research.
The Makerere University clinicians working at Mulago Hospital were seeing increasing numbers of patients with AIDS (“slim disease”), including infected pregnant women and babies; and the U.S. university investigators brought external funding, laboratory technology and other research endowments to help support the planned research activities.
Prof. Brooks Jackson
Assoc. Prof. Laura Guay
The Late Prof. Francis Mmiiro
Prof. Christopher M. Ndugwa
The early meetings continued and these leading investigators in the area of perinatal HIV research from Johns Hopkins (Dr. Brooks Jackson and Dr. Laura Guay) and Makerere U. Medical Schools (Prof. Francis Mmiro and Prof. Christopher Magala Ndugwa) established a joint comprehensive Mother–Child HIV Research Centre based at Mulago Hospital, the National referral hospital, in Kampala Uganda.
The aim of the research centre was to develop and coordinate HIV perinatal epidemiologic studies addressing;
- Risk factors for transmission
- The effects of HIV on pregnancy
- Pregnancy Outcomes
- The effect of pregnancy on HIV disease progression
- The natural history of HIV/AIDS progression among infected mothers and their infants
- Intervention clinical trials to reduce the risk of perinatal transmission.
Since 1996, this has formally been called the Makerere U. –Johns Hopkins U. (MU-JHU) Research Collaboration after the US investigators moved from Case Western University to Johns Hopkins University.
The MU-JHU Research Collaboration investigators have been conducting perinatal HIV research since 1988. Since 1988, there have been over 6000 mother and infant participants in MU-JHU research.