Since the establishment of the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS in 1989, statistics has been a major pillar of the Unit’s activities. The section was also very instrumental in evaluation of the HIV testing algorithms that have been used over the time and continues to provide statistical support to all projects in the Unit that involve quantitative data. The support consists of providing input into study proposal / protocol development, database creation, data entry, data processing and data management in order to ensure that good quality data is provided for the projects, and data analysis and interpretation (including report writing and contributing to scientific publications) are promptly done. In addition, the section is involved in training and capacity building activities through running training courses, including an annual two week “Uganda Intensive Epidemiology and Statistics Course” and a two week “Uganda Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology Course”, both in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In the early years, the section set up systems for collection, storage and analyses of data using MS-DOS data programming packages including Dbase III/IV and EPIINFO. When Windows operating system computers become accessible, the section was responsible for training of staff in the new computer programmes. The section has over the years upgraded the software it uses to support the different studies conducted by the Unit, with MS Access, a GPC non-compliant software being the main package for data entry and management since 2001. Besides introduction of the “Open Clinica”, a GPC compliant package that is locally managed, the section is building more capacity in mathematical modelling and bioinformatics.
In addition to supporting the projects within the Unit, the Statistics section is involved in its own projects which include the ALPHA Network and the Complex Model Calibration.