The network for Analysing Longitudinal Population-based HIV/ AIDS data on Africa (ALPHA) is an innovative research programme focussing on broadening the evidence base of HIV epidemiology for informing policy, strengthening analytical capacity for HIV research, and fostering collaboration between network members. It is a collaboration of ten autonomous health research institutions based in Eastern and Southern Sub-Saharan Africa and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the global north – http://alpha.lshtm.ac.uk/partner-study-institutions/. MEIRU is a founding member of the ALPHA network.
ALPHA was formed in 2005, after a number of years of informal collaborations. Since its inception, the network has regularly derived harmonised datasets from the partners’ operational databases and has performed cross-site data analyses answering a number of important research questions listed on the network’s webpage (http://alpha.lshtm.ac.uk/publications/).
The MEIRU director and researchers are members of the ALPHA Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The ALPHA SAC also includes researchers from UNAIDS, WHO and research leaders from the member institutions. The SAC provides research oversight and direction for the network.
Work within the network is organised around thematic workshops. In the workshops, member institution researchers are taught aspects of data analysis for addressing research questions at hand. This teaching form the basis for ALPHA site-specific and pooled analyses.
The Implementation Network for Sharing Population Information from Research Entities (INSPIRE) was established by African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in collaboration with the network for Analysing Longitudinal Population-based HIV/AIDS data on Africa (ALPHA) under the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN), and Committee on Data of the International Science Council (CODATA) in 2020.
INSPIRE strives to empower data producers with tools and services that promote data sharing and the reproducibility of data and the associated data production processes while retaining access control and getting credit for producing the data. It also seeks to give data users tools and services for discovering, accessing, and appropriately using the shared data and metadata. INSPIRE’s objectives are to:
- Provide an infrastructure that allows for the FAIR sharing of longitudinal population-based health data and use of these data effectively
- Bring together personnel from Longitudinal Population Studies (LPS), database professionals, clinical and epidemiology experts.
- Address the needs and concerns of stakeholders that serve Eastern Africa.
MEIRU is a founding member of the INSPIRE network and is one of the ten Health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSSs) that are affiliated ot INSPIRE.