Helena Pereira (Vice-President of the Foundation for Science & Technology, Portugal) spoke on behalf of the government of Portugal. She welcomed participants and assured them of Portugal’s continuing commitment to the programme. Then, the Chair of EDCTP’s General Assembly, Dr Mark Palmer (Medical Research Council, United Kingdom) recalled how the second EDCTP programme had broadened its scope and changed its legal structure to include African countries as equal partners. At EDCTP’s 15th anniversary, its achievements justified contemplating a third programme. He asked the participants to help decide what such a programme might be like. This would also depend on the commitment shown by the EDCTP member countries.
In her presentation on behalf of the European Commission, Irene Norsted (Acting Director of the Health Directorate, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission) delivered a presentation on EDCTP as the largest EU initiative to promote the development of medicines against poverty-related infectious diseases, and research capacity in Africa. By 2020 the EU investment in EDCTP will be nearly €900 million. EDCTP has many years of experience that should now been drawn upon. The EU’s ninth framework programme – Horizon Europe – will aim to contribute to both sustainable development goals and climate change targets. International cooperation will be an important part of all this. She said that new approaches to partnership were envisaged and that all partners will be expected to make contributions in cash as well as kind.
Dr Michael Makanga highlighted the main achievements of the EDCTP programmes so far against its objectives and presented the overview Tackling infectious disease in sub-Saharan Africa: EDCTP-funded clinical studies for medical interventions 2003-2018.
The meeting then moved on to hear two panel discussions. Participants in both panels were asked to discuss their organisations’ involvement with EDCTP and their views on its future development. The first panel comprised representatives from three African and three European countries, plus the West African Health Organization. Representatives from seven other stakeholders in the programme then discussed the same issues from their perspectives. Represented on this panel were: two NGOs, a philanthropic foundation, a pharmaceutical company, the Africa Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, WHO and the US National Institutes of Health.
The meeting was coordinated by Lara Pandya (EDCTP Strategic Partnerships Officer) and Dr Ole Olesen (EDCTP Director of International Cooperation Europe).