Transforming Parkinson’s Care in Africa (TraPCAf): a newly funded research grant

Transforming Parkinson’s Care in Africa (TraPCAf) is a multi-faceted, mixed-methods, multi-national research grant spanning seven work packages. The grant is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) (NIHR133391) using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research.

The study design includes multiple sub-studies, combining observational (qualitative and quantitative) approaches for the epidemiological, clinical, risk factor and lived experience components, as appropriate, and interventional methods (clinical trial component). The aim of TraPCAf is to describe and gain a better understanding of the current situation of PD in Africa. The countries included in this National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Group (Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania) represent diverse African geographies and genetic profiles, with differing resources, healthcare systems, health and social protection schemes, and policies. The research team is composed of experts in the field with vast experience in PD, jointly led by a UK-based and African-based investigator.

Despite the increasing prevalence of PD globally, robust data on the disease from Africa are lacking. Existing data point towards the poor awareness of PD and other neurological disorders on the continent and subsequent challenges with stigma, and limited access to affordable services and medication. This multi-site study will be the first of its kind in Africa. The data collected across the proposed work packages will provide novel and conclusive insights into the situation of PD. The selected country sites will allow for useful comparisons and make results relevant to other LMICs. This grant is timely, as global recognition of PD and the public health challenge it poses builds. The work will contribute to broader initiatives, including WHO’s Intersectoral Global Action Plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders.