Belgian and sub-Saharan global health experts join forces to combat infectious diseases
Belgium is once again a member of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). The Belgian delegation consists of the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI), supported by the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM). In collaboration with 35 European and sub-Saharan countries, they are committed to reducing the burden of infectious diseases on the African continent and protecting global health.
Over the next 10 years, the third EDCTP programme is the vehicle for accelerating the clinical evaluation of therapies, vaccines and diagnostics for infectious diseases in Africa. The programme is committed to innovative approaches for the early detection and control of emerging infectious diseases, with a focus on the impact of climate change and antimicrobial resistance. Research and capacity building go hand in hand. EDCTP3 is a key instrument for rolling out the European Union's (EU) newly published Global Health Strategy. With this new strategy, the EU is outlining a policy to strengthen its leadership role in the global health agenda and commit to the global fight against health threats in an era of pandemics.
Since March 2022, Belgium has again been a member of EDCTP, thanks to the Flemish government's commitment made in response to a request of Belgian stakeholders. This means that the Belgian research community can fully participate in the planning, decision-making and shaping of the EDCTP3 programme and thus make its mark on the global health agenda.
"The EWI department of the Flemish government renews its commitment to contribute to EDCTP. In addition to supporting ITM and developing an ecosystem around infectious diseases and participation in European initiatives, EWI wants to tackle global health challenges faster and stronger through commitment to research and innovation," says Kathleen D'Hondt, policy analyst at EWI.
DGD strongly supports Belgian participation. The objectives fit seamlessly with the federal development policy's focus on capacity building for more resilient, quality and accessible health systems.
ITM holds advisory role
"We look forward to assisting the regional and federal governments with advice and in coordinating Belgium's EDCTP3 participation," says Marc-Alain Widdowson, Director of ITM. "Not only because we believe in conducting impactful science through our partners, but also because we want to contribute to connecting scientists around the world."
To inform the research community and policymakers about the renewed membership, EWI and ITM are inviting African and Belgian stakeholders to Antwerp on Monday 5 December for the Global Health EDCTP3 exchange meeting.
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