History and background of the KID CRU unit at the Tygerberg Children's Hospital
The children's HIV clinic at Tygerberg Children's Hospital was established in 1997 as part of the adult clinic in an attempt to give comprehensive care to families affected by HIV. Although the clinicians at the clinic were actively involved in research from the start it became apparent that there were many research questions relevant to sub-Saharan Africa that needed to be answered in a prospective systematic fashion.
The Children's Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit (KID CRU) was established by its current director, Prof Mark Cotton to address these issues systematically through a process of collaboration with other academic institutions both inside and outside South Africa.
In 2002 the Tygerberg Children's hospital site was successful in an application to receive funding from the Division of AIDS (DAIDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States to become a centre for the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trails Group (PACTG). This will allow the researchers to take part in the process of protocol development with the sites sponsored through PACTG to answer research questions as part of an international collaboration. (PACTG was recently renamed as: IMPAACT - International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group)
DAIDS also approved a further grant submitted in collaboration with UCT and WITS (CIPRA). This grant allows developing protocols specifically designed to answer questions relevant to resource constrained settings and supports the development of local research facilities.
In addition a joint proposal to investigate the prophylaxis of tuberculosis in HIV infected children with UCT was accepted by the Rockefeller foundation. The unit now had funding to rent space from the Tygerberg Hospital and began the process of setting up a fully functional working space with the necessary infrastructure, staff and support to perform this research as well as developing the protocols.
Ward J8 was occupied by KID CRU in August 2002. It had to be transformed from a hospital ward to the functional space required. The initial staff compromised of 1 doctor, 1 study co-coordinator and 2 half time nurses. Our first patients were enrolled in November 2002. The close proximity to the family clinic and the good working relationship with the clinicians at the family clinic allows us to provide a comprehensive service to families. The fact that the unit is situated within the children's hospital gives our children the best available special investigations and expert opinion when needed.