Between 28 February and 4 March, the BERC-Luso coordination team visited São Tomé and Príncipe to monitor the last Work Package 4 – Networking. The team consisted of Professor Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (President of the National Ethics Council for Life Sciences and Coordinator of the BERC-Luso Project), Professor Maria Alexandra Ribeiro (President of the Ethics Committee for Clinical Research), and Dr. Jorge Batista (Advisor for the International Area of the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Association and Executive Manager of the BERC-Luso Project) A key moment of the visit was the workshop on clinical trials and biomedical research in São Tomé and Príncipe held at the Portuguese Cultural Center, with the participation of over 50 professionals and students from various areas of health sciences, social sciences and others.
During four days of intense work, the BERC-Luso team met the Minister of Health of São Tomé and Príncipe (Filomena Monteiro), the Vice-President of the National Assembly of the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (Guilherme Octaviano), the President of the São Tomé and Príncipe Medical Association (Celso Matos), the Ethics Committee of the Ministry of Health, which includes two members from the local BERC-Luso team, and also had an audience at the Embassy of Portugal in São Tomé and Príncipe with Ambassador Rui Carmo and the Attaché for Cooperation of the Embassy (Paula Pereira).
Several visits were also made to strategic structures for the project’s implementation, namely the National Tuberculosis/HIV Reference Laboratory and the Pharmaceutical Department.
A key moment of the visit was the workshop on clinical trials and biomedical research in São Tomé and Príncipe held at the Portuguese Cultural Center, with the participation of more than 50 professionals and students from various areas of health sciences, social sciences and others. The debate panels were very well attended, with a great interest from the speakers and with presentations of high level and an interested debate, besides the very significant opening and closing speeches.
The official visit of the BERC-Luso Coordination to São Tomé and Príncipe was a remarkable success, exceeding the expectations initially outlined. The next steps to achieve the definition of a robust legislation in the area of competent institutions (Medicines Regulatory Authority and Ethics Commission), as well as its regulations, now include the involvement of political power and awareness on this issue.