Joint West Africa Research Group
The West African Ebola outbreak in 2014-15 highlighted gaps in global public health response and a lack of countermeasures. To help address this, the U.S. DoD invested in a strategic initiative called the Join West Africa Research Group (JWARG) to leverage existing research platforms and relationships to improve biopreparedness in the region.
This new program was initiated in late 2015 and is a collaboration between the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Naval Medical Research Center, and other military, government and academic institutions. This program supports laboratory and clinical capacity building through military-to-military collaborations and academia.
Over the next 5 years, JWARG will leverage existing capacity, coordinate with host nation militaries and in-country partners for health security to develop clinical and laboratory capacity, bio-surveillance and response capabilities, as well as evaluate infectious diseases counter measures in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia. Its ultimate goal is to prevent and mitigate the outbreak of infectious diseases.
JWARG, in partnership with U.S. Department of Defense, the Nigeria Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme (MODHIP), international academia and research institutions and recently the US Navy, Ghanaian and Liberian Armed Forces, have built up comprehensive sites that provide laboratory, clinical and emergency services to military and civilian populations in the communities in which they are located. This sustainable platform will be used to build countermeasures to respond to infectious disease crises.
Partners build upon existing programs in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia with initiatives focused on lab and clinical strengthening, biosurveillance and countermeasure development. Within the first six months, the program quickly and successfully conducted many training programs in the US and West Africa on project management, Good Clinical and Laboratory Practices (GCLP), genomics, laboratory and diagnostics, tropical diseases, chemistry, hematology and Quality Assurance (QA). IN addition, JWARG was officially commissioned on 24 July, 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria.