Pretoria- Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014 – GOVERNMENT plans to set up an Immunology laboratory with the help of financing from the European and Developing countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Professor Nkandu Luo, who represented the Zambian Government at the launch of the second phase of the EDCTP initiative, dubbed ‘EDCTP II’ said she will engage Minister of Health, Dr. Joseph Kasonde so that an existing laboratory could be identified in Zambia and then refurbished into an Immunology laboratory for developing cell cultures to be used in the treatment of patients.
Professor Luo was speaking after attending the launch of EDCTP II in Cape Town South Africa. She sits on the Developing Countries Coordinating Council (DCCC) which is the advisory body of the EDCTP.
EDCTP is a project initiated 11 years ago by some European countries with Africa to promote research by African countries so as to end the continent’s dependence on data obtained through trials done by other regions. African countries have been unable to initiate their own research because of the huge costs associated with such projects.
“European countries decided to come together and put money in a pot to create this EDCTP as a way of supporting clinical research in Africa. This has been in existence as EDCTP I for 10 years and it is on the backdrop that it worked well that we were launching EDCTP II,” Professor Luo said.
She said it was announced at the launch in Cape Town that EDCTP II was coming with a bigger budget which will also be supported by the Melinda Gates Foundation apart from the European countries.
The Minister said Zambia now stood to benefit even more hence her opening discussions with officials at the launch to look at new ways of treating different ailments such as HIV and AIDS, lung diseases and others complicated conditions.
Professor Luo said countries have accessed as much as two million euros for use in carrying out studies, infrastructure development, delivery framework development and for actual research requirements.
“It is with this in mind that we plan to access this facility to help us develop an Immunology laboratory from which we can develop cell cultures for use in treating some of these complicated conditions we have in Zambia,” she said.
Professor Luo said Zambia has previously benefited from EDCTP I through the University Teaching Hospital and the Tropical Disease Research Centre in areas to do with HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Countries represented at the launch included the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland. Africa had Congo Brazzaville, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya Mozambique and South Africa while institutional representation was from the Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health, World Health Organisation and NEPAD. Pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson were also in attendance.
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