Dr Pascoal Mocumbi keynote address

Professor Michel Kazatchkine argued that EDCTP has an opportunity to play a pivotal role in ensuring more equitable access to new medical interventions.

Delivering the Dr Pascoal Mocumbi keynote address at the opening ceremony of the EDCTP Forum, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Senior Fellow at the Global Health Centre, the Graduate Institute for International Affairs and Development, Switzerland, praised EDCTP for its efforts in funding collaborative research by European–African consortia, as well as fostering a more supportive environment for clinical research in sub-Saharan Africa: “After 20 years, I believe we can say with confidence that EDCTP has been both a unique model and a remarkable success.”

Prof. Kazatchkine picked out some of his favourite achievements, including the Kesho Bora study, which informed WHO guidelines on mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and the phase IIb trial of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine.

However, despite much progress, Prof. Kazatchkine suggested that global health has been stagnating in recent years, and backsliding in the past three years. As well as the COVID pandemic, progress has been stalled by factors such as conflict and political instability, reduced funding for global health, displacement, and diminishing political commitment. These and other factors have contributed to growing health inequities, as well as marked inequitable access to medical countermeasures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof. Kazatchkine called for a complete shift in the intervention development paradigm that gives countries in sub-Saharan Africa more capacity to develop and produce the interventions they will need during the next health emergency: “The status quo is no longer an option,” he suggested.

A key enabler of this model will be clinical trial networks able to support high-quality studies of interventions to be used in the region – one of several ways in which EDCTP can contribute to this new paradigm.

Alongside the need for enhanced pandemic preparedness, Prof. Kazatchkine also highlighted the many persistent challenges, as well as the likely impact that factors such as climate change, environmental degradation and air pollution will have on health. The Global Health EDCTP3, he suggested, would continue to be a key part of the solution to these challenges: “I’m confident that a strong and healthy EDCTP3 will continue to help transcend differences in culture, capacity and resources, that it will remain the leading vehicle for research cooperation and impact in Africa in the Global South, and serve as a voice for those most in need.”

Above all, he made a rallying call for all those present at the Forum to play their part: “Let us continue to believe that through our work together, the future can be better than the present, because hope for the future and for achieving a safer, healthier and more equitable world starts with each of you.”

Related Posts

Global Health EDCTP3: strategy and links with other global initiatives

In the closing plenary session, Dr Michael Makanga, recently unveiled as the new Executive Director

Inequalities in global health

A plenary session was devoted to a debate in which two teams argued for or

Maternal and neonatal health

A keynote address from Professor Claudia Hanson and a subsequent panel discussion explored the factors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *