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The CANTAM Mid Term Evaluation site visit Chaired by Prof Hassen GHANNEM, Independent Evaluator mandated by EDCTP, took place from 19th to 21st August 2019 in CANTAM Coordination office at Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Medicale.

During this Evaluation meeting, Prof GHANNEM had the opportunity to meet trained staff, assesed infrastructure and equipment, thanks to the financal support of EDCTP ( CANTAM Project 2008-2014 , 2017-2021 ).

He also had the privilege to appreciate the support of the programme by the Congolese Authorities

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Taking advantage of his visit to Brazzaville to participate in the WHO 29th Regional Programme Meeting at the AFRO Regional Office, the EDCTP Executive Director (Dr Michael MAKANGA) accompanied by the EDCTP High Representative for Africa (Dr Leonardo SIMAO SANTOS) with his delegation was received in audience by Mr Hans-Peter Schick, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Congo-Brazzaville on Tuesday, August 20, 2019.

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Accompanied by the CANTAM coordination team, Dr. Michael MAKANGA, EDCTP Executive Director (African-Europe partnership on clinical trials) met the Minister of Science, technology and innovation of RoC, Mr. Aimé Parfait COUSSOUD-MAVOUNGOU.

This was the occasion for a fruitful exchange and advocacy for maintaining national support to CANTAM on this Tuesday, August 20th, 2019.

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Below the video link of the meeting on the CONGO-VOX Channel

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In the framework of the independent Mid-Term Evaluation (iMTE) of EDCTP Networks of Excellence (NoEs), the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM) in its capacity as the coordination site for CANTAM network received Prof Hassen Ghannem (the mandatory evaluator by the EDCTP).

This independent assessment will run from the 19th – 21st, August 2019 and produce a status report of the EDCTP Regional Networks and serve as input for informing future funding strategies and levels of such funding to the networks under EDCTP2.

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Following the presentation of the Prix Merieux by the Academie de France to Professor Francine NTOUMI and her team in 2016, as well as, the wish of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM) to christen its Research Center on Infectious Diseases (CeRMI) on behalf of the late Christophe MERIEUX (important member of the Merieux group particularly committed to the fight against infectious diseases linked to poverty), the FCRM received from May 27 to 29, in Brazzaville, Mr. Alain MERIEUX, President and CEO Groupe Merieux and father of the late Christophe MERIEUX. The main objectives of the visit were to officially christen the research center and to lay the foundations for a close collaboration between the Groupe Merieux and the FCRM.

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During this visit, Mr Alain MERIEUX with Prof Francine NTOUMI met the Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, and the Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation and the WHO representative in Congo. The meetings led to the signing of a memorandum between the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation of the Republic of Congo and the Merieux Group

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The stakeholders of the study “Evaluation of infection by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis at the Makelekele Hospital in Brazzaville”, conducted by the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM), met again this year on 18 May 2019 at the Centre for Research on Infectious Diseases (CeRMI) to review the progress of this study, identify the gaps and resolve any malfunctions that could hinder the smooth progress of the study

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The representatives of the FCRM, the Makelekele Hospital (study site) and the Elikia Clinic (in charge of performing X-rays of the patients participating in the study) reviewed the patients processes, easing and facilitating the aspects requiring improvement, and accepting the proposed solutions for a smooth running of the study.

Each year on the 25th of April, the world commemorates the World Malaria Day. The Central Africa Clinical Research Network (CANTAM) engaged in the fight against malaria since its creation in 2009. CANTAM celebrated this day whose theme was “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” through the organization and participation of its institutions in the various events in the countries of the subregion

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Scientific Day at the Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacovigilance Unit (UPC-PV) of the University of Kinshasa and a seminar on the presentation of results from Malaria research at the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in Cameroon

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The Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacovigilance Unit (UPC-PV) participated in the 3rd Malaria Scientific Days organized by the National Malaria Program in the DRC. The work took place at the Memling Hotel in Kinshasa from April 29 to 30, 2019. These Days brought together more than 150 researchers from several local research institutions (University of Kinshasa, National Institute for Biomedical Research "INRB") (Universities of Kisangani and Lubumbashi) and internationally (US CDC, University of North Carolina, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute). The United Nations agencies (WHO, UNICEF) as well as donors committed to the fight against malaria (USAID, Global Fund through the Rural Health NGO “SANRU”, PATH) demonstrated during this day by different interventions. This research work enabled the various stakeholders to discuss progress in the fight against malaria in DR Congo.

It was also an opportunity to share on the CANTAM network through the presentation of Prof TONA (April 30th, 2019) who talked about the current PYRAMAX Phase IV study with the exhibition of 2 posters on which are summarised the activities of CANTAM by the institutions that are comprised the network. The chairman of the Scientific Committee, Professor Thierry BOBANGA, emphasized in his closing presentation that CANTAM network represents an opportunity for cross-border malaria surveillance in the sub-region

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In Cameroon, the University of Yaoundé-I (UY1) at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences hosted majority of the malaria researchers who in turn gave a presentation of their respective projects. The coordinator of the National Malaria control Program (NMCP), Dr Achu Dorothy Fosah took this opportunity which was covered by the national media to outline the steps the ministry of Public Health has put in place to reduce and why not eliminate malaria. The proper use of mosquito nets, vector control are the best practical approaches to control malaria while waiting for a viable vaccine. Some of the few steps to avoid malaria are to restrict storage of water in tyres, pots, coolers and tanks. Good diagnostic test with new drugs are all the options we have now to eliminate malaria. Prof Rose Lekeh presented her talk on community awareness for the proper implementation of the package Dorothy listed while citing cases of Ethopia and Uganda.

Prof Mbacham W. answered question related to the poor distribution method asked by Leonard, on the authorities to target public holidays, where most individuals will be at home. While Dr Dorothy highlighted the challenges, they face with the distribution and promised the next phase of distribution will observe some mark improvement.

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Celebration of the World Malaria Day at the FMBS, University of Yaoundé-I

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Fifth Scientific Day in Gabon and Price Award to the best laboratory technician on malaria diagnosis in the Republic of Congo

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The International Centre of Medical Research of Franceville (CIRMF), the University of Health Sciences (USSA), Libreville and the Centre for Medical Research Lambaréné (CERMEL), which are CANTAM institutions in Gabon participated in the Fifth Scientific Day organised by the country’s PNLP in Libreville. Research institutions in Gabon were represented at this high level meeting and they presented their study outcomes on malaria research.

Presentation by Dr Karl IMBOUMY of CIRMF during the 5th Medical day in Gabon

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In the Republic of Congo, the outstanding event of the day was the price awarded by the PNLP Cordinator to the best laboratory technician in malara diagnosis (4th edition)

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The PMTL, which was instituted by the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research in 2012, was allocated on this 25th April 2019, to the Research Centre on Infectious Diseases by the Cordinator of PNLP to Mr. Albert Etou, working in the Hospital of Gamboma in the Plateau region (centre of Congo)

The award recipients with the Cordinator of PNLP and the Cordinator of CANTAM

The Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation of the Republic of Congo, His Excellency Mr. Martin Parfait Aime COUSSOUD-MAVOUNGOU visited the premises of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM) on 23rd May 2019.This visit is part of the strong partnership between the FCRM and its parent Ministry.

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After the visit of the center of Medical Analyses and Consultations of the Foundation in the Massissia neighborhood (South of Brazzaville),the Minister and his Delegation went to the head office of the FCRM located on the Africa WHO campus during which a working session was held where the parties exchanged on the ongoing research activities and on ways to improve collaborations and the public research structures of the country. The minister also stressed the importance of maintaining sub –regional and international collaborations, which is equally what the FCRM is striving toward visibility.

Mission by the CRFilMT team from Cameroonto the Republic of Congo from the 4th to the 6th of April 2019 to launch the activities of the CANTAM network on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) The team from the Research Centre on Filariasis and other Tropical Diseases (CRFilMT) from Cameroon, travelled to Republic of Congo with the aim to kick-off the activities on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) component of the CANTAM project. The team constituted Prof Joseph KAMGNO (Director of CRFilMT, and at the same capacity as vice-Dean at the Faculty of Medicine and biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde-1.) and Mr Jean BOPDA (Laboratory engineer). The mission had two main objectives and started with the meeting with the stakeholders at the ministry of Health (the National Program for the Control of Onchocerciasis (PNLO) and the CANTAM team on April, 4 2019 at the premises of the PNLO. During this meeting, the parties discussed the situation of NTDs in the Republic of Congo, the activities of NTDs at the CANTAM network as well as the collaboration between the PNLO and the CANTAM Network. The CRFilMT team then conducted a three-day training (4th to 6th April 2019) on diagnostic techniques on NTDs with related surveys methods to all those who participated at the Centre for Research on Infectious Diseases (CeRMI). These participants were from PNLO, the national Laboratory of Public Health (LNSP), and from the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM) Prof KAMGNO used this opportunity on the spot in Brazzaville to interact with postgraduate students at FCRM advising them on research activities
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