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ISC and its partners organised the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.
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Thursday, September 14 • 9:00am - 11:30am
[VIRTUAL] Investing in research and development of innovative digital health solutions for Africa with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) (140902)

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Investing in research and development of innovative digital health solutions for Africa
14 September 2023 – 09:00-11:30 EDT/15:00-17:30 CEST  (please take note of the timezones)

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As we strive towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and laying the foundation for the post-2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) need to embrace the opportunities presented by digital health solutions. Working smarter and faster is key to harnessing more efficient, equitable and contextualised healthcare in an integrated manner. Combining health technologies with other scientific innovations such as mobile and digital technologies (mHealth and eHealth), artificial intelligence (AI), big data processing, and other emerging technologies offers the potential for widespread transformation of health systems. Despite large-scale investments in product development for poverty and related infectious diseases (PRDs), progress in achieving public health gain remains slow, while sub-Saharan Africa bears the highest burden of these diseases.
Moreover, these diseases co-exist with a growing burden of other morbidities, requiring improved systems that facilitate surveillance for multiple diseases and the ability to support the introduction of several medical interventions. There is a need to provide sustained support to research and development and to encourage the use of new, innovative approaches and emerging health technologies in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve rapid progress and impact. The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the use of digital health and the generation of novel knowledge that could advance prevention, treatment or diagnosis of PRDs in this part of the world with rapidly growing ‘digital–hungry’ urban populations and mainly young people with a median age of under 20 years.

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is investing in innovative approaches to enhance research on PRDs in sub-Saharan Africa. As a partnership between currently 24 African and 15 European countries, EDCTP aims to accelerate the development of new or improved medical interventions for the identification, treatment and prevention of PRDs.

Launched in 2003 and renewed in 2014 and 2021, EDCTP has been the focal point of European Union (EU) support for global health research in Africa and is a visible sign of commitment to the SDGs. By December 2022, the second EDCTP programme (EDCTP2; 2014-2024) portfolio comprised 436 grants awarded through 60 calls for proposals, representing a total investment of EUR 823 million. Clinical trials supported by EDCTP2 involve international collaborations spanning >60 countries and 350 institutions in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, with broader global collaboration. Results from these clinical trials have generated pivotal evidence which has informed national and international policy and practice. On 10 May 2022, the European Commission and the EDCTP Association launched the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking, highlighting the importance of ensuring research and innovation collaboration, cooperation and funding in the area of infectious diseases, and the commitment of the partners.

As part of the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78), and on the occasion of EDCTP’s 20th anniversary, this session aims to illustrate the value of investing in research and development of innovative digital health solutions for addressing unmet medical needs in Africa through a global partnership such as EDCTP. The objectives of the session will be:

  • Promoting awareness about EDCTP and its role and contribution towards attaining the SDGs
  • Showcasing practical examples of how EDCTP and its partners are supporting clinical research using smart, highly innovative health technologies or concepts to prevent, treat or diagnose PRDs in sub-Saharan Africa, and the development of solutions that are easily integrated or linked to existing electronic or digital systems used in the implementation of clinical research and health systems’ patient management
  • Demonstrating how the use of digital technology in public health interventions can serve as a driver for the development of African health systems, improving access to health data and research evidence to better develop and implement informed health policies and improved clinical guidelines for healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Discussing the role of digital health solutions in addressing Africa’s health challenges and opportunities, including lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic response and the enabling research, policy, regulatory and financial environments that are needed.

  • Harleen Grewal, Professor of Microbiology and Global health, University of Bergen, Norway; Chairperson of the EDCTP Scientific Advisory Committee
  • John Gyapong, Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Georgetown University, USA; Chairperson of the Scientific Committee of Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking
15:00-15:05 CEST: Welcome and introduction from the co-Chairs and Michelle Nderu ( EDCTP)
15:05-15:15 CEST: Unleashing the role of medical technologies in combatting the unmet medical challenges attributed to PRDs in sub-Saharan Africa towards attaining the SDGs and UHC- Michael Makanga, Executive Director; EDCTP (Netherlands)
15:15-15:25 CEST: Case study 1 – Blockchain high coverage rabies post-exposure prophylaxis to achieve zero human rabies deaths in Africa (BlockRabies)- Jakob Zinsstag, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Switzerland
15:25-15:35 CEST: Case study 2 - Improving access to SARS-CoV-2 screening and testing through community-based COVID-19 case-finding and the use of digital solutions in Lesotho and Zambia (TREATS-COVID & Mistral)- Kwame Shanaube, Zambart, Zambia
15:35-15:45 CEST: Case study 3 - Dual diagnosis by Spectral Artificial Visual Examination for Female Genital Schistosomiasis and cervical cancer. Digital, new, low-cost, and simple diagnosis and training (DUALSAVE-FGS) - Santiago Martinez, University of Agder(Norway)
15:45-15:55 CEST: Case study 4 – Expanding digital data capacities of African clinical trial centres through a cloud-based global health research platform - Gadi Lachman, CEO and President, TriNetX LLC, USA
15:55-16:10 CEST: Audience Q&A  
16:10-17:00 CEST: Panel discussion: The role of digital technology in addressing Africa’s health challenges
  • Irene Norstedt, Director, People Directorate, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Roseanne Rotondo, Head of Global Health Access, Novartis, USA
  • Gadi Lachman, CEO and President, TriNetX LLC, USA
  • Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Chief Digital Advisor, African Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), Ethiopia
  • Lindiwe Makubalo, Assistant Regional Director, WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO / AFRO), Congo
17:00 -17:20 CEST:        Audience Q&A and discussion
17:20 -17:30 CEST:    Closing remarks  - Marcel Tanner, EDCTP High Representative (Europe)

avatar for Santiago Martinez

Santiago Martinez

Associate Professor, University of Agder
Santiago G. Martinez (MSc, MPhil, PhD) is an Associate Professor in Digital Health at the University of Agder (Norway). He is part of the DUALSAVE-FGS project consortium of 27 researchers in 9 institutions, who do implementation research on Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) in... Read More →
avatar for Michael Makanga

Michael Makanga

Executive Director, European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships - Association
Dr Michael Makanga, MD PhD FRCP: EDCTP Executive Director.Dr Makanga is a clinician-scientist with 28 years of professional experience of working on health and poverty-related infectious diseases in Africa. This includes 24 years of work experience on medical product development and... Read More →
avatar for Rosanne Rotondo

Rosanne Rotondo

Head Global Health Access at Novartis Global Health, Novartis
See Bio. Please talk to me about access to Innovative medicines, improving health equity, innovative business and finance models in LMIC specifically for NCDs
avatar for Marcel Tanner

Marcel Tanner

President and High Representative EDCTP, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and EDCTP
Professor Marcel Tanner was Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute from 1997 to 2015 and is now President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences. He holds a PhD in medical biology from the University of Basel and an MPH from the University of London. Lived and worked... Read More →
avatar for John Gyapong

John Gyapong

Chair EDCTP3 Scientific Committee, EDCTP
Professor John Gyapong is the Chair of the Scientific Committee (SC) of Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking and former Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of EDCTP2. He a Public Health Physician and an Epidemiologist. He studied Medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University... Read More →
avatar for Harleen Grewal

Harleen Grewal

Professor, University of Bergen
Professor Harleen Grewal is Professor of Microbiology (2002) and Global health (2013) (University of Bergen, Norway) and Consultant Physician at the Haukeland University Hospital, also in Bergen. An MD (1987, University of Maharashtra, India), she trained in medical microbiology at... Read More →
avatar for Jakob Zinsstag

Jakob Zinsstag

Deputy head of department, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Prof. Dr. Jakob Zinsstag is a veterinarian with a PhD in tropical animal health. He spent eight years in West Africa at the International Trypanotolerance Centre in The Gambia and four years as the director of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques in Côte d’Ivoire. Since... Read More →
avatar for Kwame Shanaube

Kwame Shanaube

Deputy Director of Research, Zambart
I am  a clinical epidemiologist, currently serving as the Deputy Director of Research at Zambart and as an honorary lecturer at the University of Zambia School of Public Health. I have 18 years of experience working in public health research. My research interests cover a wide range... Read More →
avatar for Gadi Lachman

Gadi Lachman

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TriNetX, TriNetX
Gadi Lachman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TriNetX, the global network of healthcare organizations driving real-world research to accelerate the development of new therapies. Starting in 2014, TriNetX has grown into the largest global platform for clinical research... Read More →
avatar for Irene Norstedt

Irene Norstedt

Director, People Directorate, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
Irene Norstedt works at the European Commission, where she is the Director responsible for the People Directorate within the DG for Research and Innovation.The People Directorate works towards developing a healthy, safe, more equal, free, open and fair society where the voice of the... Read More →
avatar for Jean Philbert Nsengimana

Jean Philbert Nsengimana

Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Africa CDC
Jean Philbert Nsengimana (Phil) is the Chief Digital Health Advisor at Africa CDC.  He also serves as a special advisor to the Commons Project and the Digital Impact Alliance, working to unlock the full potential of technology and data for Africa's prosperity. Prior to those rol... Read More →
avatar for Lindiwe Makubalo

Lindiwe Makubalo

Assistant Regional Director, WHO
Dr Lindiwe Makubalo was appointed to the position of Assistant Regional Director in 2021. She oversees the Regional Office’s effort to strengthen Coordination and Integration of functions. In addition, she is responsible for cross cutting areas - Anti-microbial resistance, Diagnostics... Read More →

avatar for Co-convenor: Daniela Pereira

Co-convenor: Daniela Pereira

Communications Officer, EDCTP
avatar for Nderu, Michelle

Nderu, Michelle

Project Officer, EDCTP

Thursday September 14, 2023 9:00am - 11:30am EDT