Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net
Finland will be the latest the European Union (EU) State to join the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) programme that brings together participating EU Member States with sub-Saharan countries and interested third parties to fight poverty-related diseases
Jarmo Wahlfors from the Academy of Finland who attended the second EDCTP conference held in Cape Town this week said Finland would soon join the project to strengthen Global health research
Through EDCTP, European countries have a coherent and coordinated voice internationally and a common strategy in the fight against poverty-related diseases; HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and Neglected Infectious Diseases
“We hope to sign an agreement in Helsinki to join EDCTP and although this is not our top priority we can make it fit nicely in our plans to strengthen global health, said Wahlors.
Finland, which has strong ties with the NORDIC countries, has not been participating in EDCTP because of ‘legal’ and regulatory problems, said Wahlors. But it will be part of EDCTP II.
Seventeen other countries also expressed willingness to proceed with EDCTP-II: They are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Slovakia has also expressed strong interest in joining the EDCTP II Programme.
The second phase of EDCTP, which will run from 2014-2024, will be bigger, supporting 50 new clinical trials-larger and more costly phase III trials, strengthen Africa’s capacities for clinical research; and train 250 African researchers and doctors.
EDCTP-II will also accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, microbicides, diagnostics and vaccines, by provision of a critical mass of resources, over 1 billion, to support clinical trials.
Meanwhile, Namibia could also join EDCTP II to become active participants and not just be recipients of research according to Alfred Adriaan Van Kent, the Minister of Education in Namibia.
It is through such knowledge networks that we hope to share information and solve our problems, said Kent who was trying to understand the EDCPT project and sell it to his nation to join.
I am trying to understand how we can become partners, to get more medical practitioners on board and play an active role, said Kent at the EDCTP II conference.