The response of EDCTP to the burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is direct and pragmatic: to strengthen and integrate the existing national European and African health research programmes. Furthermore, EDCTP aims to improve the research environment and infrastructure for carrying out clinical trial activities in Africa, and to promote African leadership in the conduct of clinical trials.

HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are three of the world’s most devastating communicable diseases affecting many of the world's poorest people. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are characterised as poverty-related diseases (PRDs) not only because they are endemic in impoverished populations but also because they impede economic development and cause unnecessary death and suffering to the populations affected.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region which is worst affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria:

  • In 2009, an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV-infection globally, and 23 million of these were from Africa. In 2010, 1.3 million people were newly infected in Africa accounting for 50% of the 2.6 million global new cases
  • More than 1.5 million people become infected with tuberculosis in this region each year. In recent years this number has been rising rapidly, largely due to high prevalence of HIV
  • 90% of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria kills 3000 children every day in Africa — that is a million a year.

Integrated projects for sustainable research
Researchers in sub-Saharan Africa are faced with the challenges of multicentre protocols, a demanding regulatory environment and universal ethical standards. With the right resources and training, sub-Saharan countries have the opportunity to take up a leadership role in trials and to create a sustainable environment for conducting high-quality medical research.
To achieve this, EDCTP offers large grants that focus on clinical trials (which is the principal function of EDCTP) as the core activity, and use networking and capacity development. EDCTP-funded activities are based therefore on the following components:

  1. Supporting relevant clinical trials
  2. Networking and coordination of European national research and development programmes and with their partners in the south
  3. Networking and coordination of African national programmes
  4. Strengthening African capacity in this field.

EDCTP believes that capacity development gives African researchers the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’, to utilise the developed capacity and to ensure a successful outcome and capacity retention. Networking through north-south and south-south mentorship will create the critical mass that is required for sustainability.

Mandate and budget
EDCTP is jointly owned by participating EU national programmes and those of developing countries, and creates a framework to synchronise and pool resources. By applying Article 185 (ex. Article 169) of the Treaty of Lisbon, the national commitment of each Member State mobilises their publicly funded organisational and institutional activities within the scope of EDCTP into a joint programme under EDCTP. The budget of EDCTP is € 400 M for 2003-2015, comprising a € 200 M contribution from the EC that is matched by funding (in-kind contributions and new money) from the Member States. EDCTP also forms strategic alliances with like-minded organisations in the public and private sector in order to achieve common goals.

Joint Programme
The objectives and activities of EDCTP are described in a publicly available version of its business strategy, Joint Programme.