Ndlovu Research Department

The uniqueness is the mix between academic research and trial research,

translated immediately into policy documents

leading to improved treatment guidelines

and patient care.

Founding Background

The long years of work in Elandsdoorn have brought extensive practical experience and essential findings of diverse research results. The Ndlovu Care Group began to prepare detailed program evaluations and impact analyses, to provide them with evidence based foundations and to mature NCG scientifically. Since 2006 the academic NCG works together with Utrecht University, the Netherlands, especially the faculty of Social Sciences and Internal Medicine. In 2014 the Ndlovu Research Consortium was founded, leading to the Ndlovu Research Department.

Why is the Ndlovu Research Department so different?
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Ndlovu Care Group (NCG) has created a trust relationship with the communities.

Ndlovu Care Group (NCG) has created a trust relationship with the communities.

Ndlovu Care Group (NCG) has a footprint in the community of Sekhukhune, Limpopo, South Africa for the last 25 years. The Ndlovu Research Department has direct access to a community of about 140-150.000 inhabitants. Over the years NCG has developed programs in the field of Health Care, Child Care & Youth Development, local Infrastructure and 58 water projects in the Moutse area.

The Ndlovu Research Department has an extensive Community Engagement Program:

  • Lay Counsellors go into the community and inform and educate the community about ongoing and upcoming research projects
  • Direct engagement with Community Advisory Group, a group of community representatives from the religious leaders, traditional leaders, business leaders and other community members
  • Very direct communication with the communities we recruit our participants from
  • Providing of a transparent process
  • Database of over 2000 community members who are interested in participation in research projects

Ndlovu Care Group (NCG) runs a state of the art clinical trial and research facility in collaboration with world-class and reputable research institutions, academics and funders. The aim of NCG clinical research is to create value and contribute towards the greater good of society.

Research Clinical NRC-1

Ndlovu Research Centre (NRC) comprises of two buildings known as NRC-1 and NRC-2. NRC-1 was developed to accommodate Ndlovu Cohort Study.

 

The primary focus was to conduct HIV treatment and prevention studies, aimed at investigating the epidemiology, pathogenesis and socio-scientific factors determining the interaction between HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), lifestyle related, chronic conditions. Cardiovascular diseases are a specific research interest as well as other NCDs. NRC-1 facilities include a number of administrative offices, clinical, counselling and interviewing rooms, reception area, boardroom, secure filling room and convenient participants waiting area. 

Both research buildings are wheelchair and stroller friendly for the convenience of our clinical trial participants. All research staff are fully ICH-GCP trained and perform research as per protocol requirements.

Our clinical research facility was designed with participant comfort in mind and to support high-level international clinical research and allow number of trials to be conducted concurrently.

The clinical research facility is solar powered and tries to reduce Ndlovu Care Group’s carbon footprint, working to an improved environment.

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Research Clinical NRC-2

NRC-2, a double story building, was opened to house more projects and to conduct a wide spectrum of clinical research studies such a microbial and vaccine studies on HIV prevention.

 

Similar to NRC-1 but bigger in size, the ground floor of NRC-2 comprises of a number of administrative offices, clinical, counselling and interviewing rooms, reception area, boardroom, data management facilities, secure filing room and convenient participants waiting area. Our clinical research facilities are fully equipped to meet various clinical research and trials requirements. Both research buildings are wheelchair and stroller friendly for the convenience of our clinical trial participants. All research staff are fully ICH-GCP trained and perform research as per protocol requirements.

Our clinical research facility was designed with participant comfort in mind and to support high-level international clinical research and allow number of trials to be conducted concurrently.

The clinical research facility is solar powered and tries to reduce Ndlovu Care Group’s carbon footprint, working to an improved environment.

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Operational Clinical

Ndlovu Medical Centre (NMC) is a well-equipped Primary Health Care Centre with extended facilities and provides clinical services to the community since 1994. 

 

NMC is a well-equipped Primary Health Care Centre with extended facilities like an Audiology Department, Primary Eye Care Unit, Cervical Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Unit, a Digital X-Ray Department, an Institutional Pharmacy and a Day-admission unit. Academic research projects recruiting program patients make use of the clinic and its access to patients, like the ITREMA project. All employees are ICH-GCP trained.

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Research Laboratory

Ndlovu Research Centre has a state of the art laboratory, equipped with all basic laboratory equipment and three biosafety level-2 cabinets. Presently we are establishing a full molecular biology unit.

 

Currently, the laboratory conducts rapid diagnostics including pregnancy tests, HIV tests, Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) tests and urine analysis, ARV druglevel tests and haematology and serology tests. The laboratory staff is certified to perform isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We also collaborate with a number of referral laboratories such as Bio-Analytical Research Corporation (BARC) and Toga laboratories to conduct testing techniques that are not available at our laboratory. The laboratory is also capable of storing large number of clinical samples at temperature ranges from 4° C to -154° C. All fridges and freezers are monitored by a Continuous Temperature Monitoring System (CTM) which records temperature in real-time. The laboratory has access to backup generators to ensure constant power supply in the event of power failure and is access controlled.

Considering our strong collaboration network and the new molecular biology unit to perform DNA sequencing, conventional PCR, real-time PCR and nested PCR, our research capacity and activities are going to expand tremendously.

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Research Pharmacy

NRC Institutional and Research Pharmacy is fully licenced by the South African Pharmacy Council. The pharmacy has an access control system for authorized personnel only. 

 

The Pharmacy is equipped with 2-8° C Fridges, -20° and -80° C freezers and bio-safety level II cabinet and has a dedicated preparation area and counselling room. The Pharmacy has Continuous Temperature Monitoring system (CTM) which monitors the desired and set temperatures for each study’s product. The Pharmacy has access to backup generators to ensure constant power supply in the event of power supply interruption.

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First it connected a University from the developed world to a University of a middle and lower income country, the University of Utrecht and the Witswatersrand University to stimulate academic exchange to perform first class academic work in the rural areas of Limpopo where the NGO Ndlovu Care Group has an academic interest and access to a large study population.

Secondly the participating scientists of both Universities have a shared vision that the solutions of the TB/HIV epidemic is not vested in the medical field alone but in a combined epidemiological, social-scientific, medical holistic approach. Thirdly it is not only an academic research site but also has trial activities ongoing for product, vaccine and /or drug development. All trials are related to the improvement of Public Health especially in the fields of prevention treatment & care of HIV, TB and Communicable diseases. It is our wish and hope to add cure research onto this in the near future.
In 2017, the Ndlovu Research Consortium (NRC) set up a research centre in the community of Elandsdoorn, where the long-term effects of HIV infection, its associated chronic diseases and socio-economic problems can be investigated thoroughly and permanently. In the Ndlovu Research Consortium three different institutions work together: the Ndlovu Care Group based in Elandsdoorn, the University Witwatersrand based in Johannesburg and the University of Utrecht. The multidisciplinary partnership covers a broad research environment. Product development studies are continuously implemented and accompanied.

The uniqueness of the Ndlovu Research Department is the mix between academic research and trial research which tries to translate research results immediately into policy documents leading to improved treatment guidelines and patient care.