The Lubowa site of the Joint Clinical research Centre, was the first clinic set up at the JCRC for the care of HIV patients. It was established as part of this autonomous organization established in 1991 by HE the President of Uganda to provide a scientific solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Originally located at Bulange Mengo, in the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, it is now located at Lubowa hill; approximately 9kms to the South of Kampala along the Kampala-Entebbe highway.
As part of the JCRC, this site was involved in the pioneer research that determined the lowest effective dose of AZT in the African population in 1992. In 2004, JCRC Lubowa became the first recipient of the first U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grant. Through this PEPFAR grant, the JCRC implemented and coordinated the initial country-wide rollout of ART in Uganda. It was through PEPFAR/USAID funded program entitled “The Regional Expansion of Antiretroviral Therapy (TREAT) program which run from 2003-2010 that the JCRC set up a regional centre/hub and spoke system for the scale up of provision of ART in Uganda.
The Lubowa site has over 350 staff members who are well trained and experienced in HIV/AIDS care, treatment, and research. To date, the site has been involved in 100 research projects which have translated into over 400 publications in peer reviewed journals.
The site infrastructure for research includes adequate clinic and counselling rooms, and an in-patient facility with a 20-bed capacity. The site also boasts of a state-of-the-art laboratory with a test menu of more than 50 tests that is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and certified by the Division of AIDS (DAIDS), a division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the site has a well-established radiology unit, a stand-alone TB clinic equipped with a sputum booth, a secure and adequate research pharmacy, a biorepository with over forty -800C freezers and 24-hour automatic power back-up system. The site currently provides care and treatment services to over 13,000 people living with HIV.
It has been a wonderful experience being one of the CARES implementing sites and participating in a ground-breaking research study that will inform treatment policy especially for programs in low- and middle-income countries.