Zambian minister urges African governments to contribute towards clinical trials

Professor Nkandu Luo has urged African governments to support the development of new drugs against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by actively contributing towards the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership programme.

Zambia’s Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister, Professor Nkandu Luo has urged African governments to support the development of new drugs against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by actively contributing towards the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) programme.

The EDCTP is a partnership of 14 EU countries, Switzerland and Norway plus 47 sub-Saharan African countries. Its aim is to develop new or improved clinical interventions to combat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through long term partnerships between European and sub-Saharan African countries.

Speaking during a recently held conference on the second EDCTP programme, hosted by the South African Department of Science and Technology in Cape Town, Professor Luo said: “For us African governments time has come for us to contribute to EDCTP We can’t continue to be passive recipients. We need to redesign budgets and showing our commitment.”

The professor said there is very little visibility of the work being done in several countries despite the huge amounts of money being pumped into research through the EDCTP programme.

As part of the second EDCTP programme, due to start in 2014, Professor Luo called for existing partnerships between recipient countries, governments and researchers to be strengthened and new ones built. She said some of the ways African countries could contribute towards EDCTP was to have big companies such as those operating in the mines contribute towards the undertaking.

“How much can mines contribute to government and EDCTP because some people suffering from TB, it is because of working on those mines? We also need to invest in infrastructure and human capital,” Professor Luo said.

She called for inclusiveness of all stakeholders including the media for the programme to be a success. She gave the example of how microbicide trials had once been abandoned on account of uninformed media reports and warned against this happening again.

The professor said research should not be “thrown out in the backyard”, especially in Africa because it has an integral part to play in healthcare provision. However, she said the money being pumped into research works in several African countries including Zambia should be seen to bear fruit.

 

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