When nobody seemed to care much about time!


Munyaradzi Makoni
Freelance journalist


When Peter Henlein invented the first watch in 1504 in Nuremberg, Germany, he must have known the essence of keeping time, something that went wrong during the visit to clinical trial sites in Cape Town by the delegates.

On the morning of 6 November, two buses headed for the University of Cape Town (UCT) from the Cape Town Convention Centre. Going to Groote Schuur Hospital-a hub for research-was to give delegates grounding on work being done at the central point where figures and statistics are analysed

The Groote Schuur Hospital is a large, government-funded, teaching hospital situated in suburb of Observatory. At the hospital, in one of the medium-sized lecture halls, around 30 people sat to hear about some of the projects they had heard a day before hailed as a success

The delegates were divided into two groups: the first was to visit the university’s pharmacology laboratory while the second group was to call on South Africa’s Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, a lung infection and immunity laboratory in Worcester

The idea was to give a picture of what exactly the EDCTP money was paying for since 2003 before going to research sites. Most researchers gave an overview of their work and why it was necessary to fund them without regard to time. They talked, talked and talked

The other visit took place in the afternoon with another group of delegates visit to the University of Stellenbosch for TB research presentation by Paul van Helden and Gerhard Walz.

Those who were supposed to tour the laboratory pharmacy at UCT lost the opportunity. There was no time left for their visit. An opportunity had been lost. They then joined others who visited impoverished community of Langa where there are other TB research projects. Nobody seemed to care much about keeping time


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