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March 07, 2020
Published in Malaria
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OBITUARY Dr. Saadou Issifou

It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing on Sunday 23 February 2020 of our dearest Dr. Saadou Issifou, MD PhD, former CERMEL Director from 2001 to 2013. He was most recently the President of the “Fondation pour la Recherche Scientifique” (FORS) in Cotonou, in his home country of Benin. He was also Research group leader at the Institute for Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen in Germany, as well as a lecturer at the University of Parakou, in Benin.

He was a member of several scientific committees and consortiums including, the Central African Network for TB, AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM), DCCC member at the EDCTP, CCG member at the CAMES, and was Principal Investigator of several international clinical trials performed in Lambaréné, Gabon and in Cotonou, Benin over many years.

His decades-long work as a clinician, researcher, and lecturer touched the lives of children and adults throughout Central and West Africa. Dr. Issifou dedicated his life to combating some of the greatest threats to human health and development, including anti-malarial drug development, and the successful search for a malaria vaccine. His many accomplishments in public health reflect both the grand legacy he leaves, and the great work we all must carry forward in his memory.

We share in the sorrow of his loving family and of our colleagues in all CANTAM countries at our loss. Dr. Issifou’s passing remains in our thoughts during this period of mourning and beyond.

Adieu Docteur Saadou and Rest In Peace

The Central Africa Clinical Research Network (CANTAM) works in synergy with the ministries of Health of Central African Regions via the department in charge of drugs and medications in order to develop pharmacovigilance capacity, which is not well developed in the sub-region. The Clinical Pharmacology unit and Pharmacovigilance (UPC-PV) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) demonstrated their expertise within the CANTAM network countries starting with RoC. The training workshop was coordinated from January 14 to 18, 2020 in Brazzaville, organised by CANTAM in partnership with the ministry of Health and population, promotion of women and integration of women to development of the Republic of Congo. This workshop brought together the main stakeholders of Pharmacovigilance such as: pharmacists from the main hospitals of Brazzaville, members of all programmes working against diseases, pharmacists from the capital, and some traditional healers.

This training workshop also enabled the identification of focal points among the participants in charge of making the link between their hospitals, programmes and other institutions with the National Pharmacovigilance Center soon to be activated and functioning in RoC, and raising the awareness of the health personnel of two hospitals in Brazzaville on the importance and need of pharmacovigilance with the focus on the notification of drug-related adverse events.

Our sincere congratulations to both the CERMEL team and the ACCT organising committee for the success of the event. We all look forward and plan for the 3rd Edition next year.

We participated in the 2nd Edition of the African Congress for Clinical Trials (ACCT), Lambarene, 10-14 Nov 2019. The theme for the Congress was “Clinical trial in Sub-Saharan Africa; Challenge or Opportunity?”

This excellent Congress organised by our CANTAM colleagues of CERMEL brought together researchers from all over the world and was the opportunity to tackle the major challenges of today's research.

Our sincere congratulations to both the CERMEL team and the ACCT organising committee for the success of the event. We all look forward and plan for the 3rd Edition next year.

The 9th EDCTP Forum was organised in Lisbon-Portugal from 17th to 21st September 2018. This EDCTP Forum hosted 550 participants from more than 50 countries and consisted of 5 plenary presentations, 9 symposia, 45 oral presentations in parallel sessions, and 74 ePosters.

The capacities, activities and challenges of the CANTAM network were presented by Leonard NUMFOR (Project Manager) during the Scientific Colloquium: “Empowering African Research Institutions through capacity building, partnership and networking”, bringing together the four EDCTP regional Networks of Excellence (NoEs) and Pharmaceutical Industries (Novartis Pharma, Bio Venture for Global Health BVGH…). This Symposium aimed at identifying areas of collaboration between NoEs and pharmaceutical companies

The forum was also an opportunity for the NoEs and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) to meet and discuss the most appropriate strategies for data sharing challenges including recommandations made by Horizon 2020..

As many CANTAM partenrs were attending the EDCTP forum, a CANTAM meeting was organized to discuss progress in the project.

As part of the multi-center Phase IIIb/IV PYRAMAX trial involving Central Africa countries (Cameroon, Rep of Congo, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo) it was necessary to train or strengthen regulatory authorities in their Pharmacovigilance competence under the leadership of the Clinical Pharmacology Unit and Pharmacovigilance (UPC-PV) from the university of Kinshasa.

Due to the fact that all the CANTAM countries are not at the same level of competence, UPC-PV has set up targeted training to meet up with the needs of each country.

It is in this context that stakeholders meeting involving National regulatory authorities of Cameroon, Rep of Congo and Gabon respectively and CANTAM members coordinated by Prof. Gauthier MESIA KAHUNU was organized. This activity contributes to encourage ownership.

At the different sites, the gaps were identified and the appropriate framework for the implementation that will be conducted during the second phase was established. Specifically, this second phase will consist of Human resources training workshops.

August 18, 2018
Published in Malaria
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Workshop on 3D Printing Training

The work plan for the second phase of CANTAM on clinical research capacity building and development has also as deliverable, the implementation of new technologies that could boost development of activities within the network and spread to others in a sustainable way. The 3D printing is one of the new technology selected for this package in view of its creativity, gain in time and production cost.

On February 20th 2018, it was held in the conference Hall of the Olympic Hotel Palace a seminar on the theme, “Fighting Malaria with CRISPR/Cas9 : Ethical Implications” with the aim of expressing an African voice in the context of the development of genome editing technologies with the main focus and theme of eliminating malaria.

The University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) had the pleasure to organize the 7th Pan African Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) in April 2018. Twenty years after the MIM Meeting, Dakar had the honour to host this prestigious malaria conference where they adopted the theme “Dakar II: two decades of progress, challenges and perspectives in ending Malaria”.

The 7th MIM conference served as an opportunity to review MIM’s 20 years of contribution to the global goal of ending malaria in Africa, to better address current malaria research and control priorities.

Leading and emerging malaria researchers were provided with a platform to show case their research findings, share experiences and novel ideas as well as establish new research collaborations. Young scientists were exposed to ask questions and interact with malaria experts.

CANATAM was in the same booth with the EDCTP where excited and curious researchers wanted to know exactly what CANTAM is doing and how they could be part. Léonard NUMFOR(Project Manager) Leonard provided some explanations, coupled with the flyers provided and shared which they could visit the sites.

CANTAM/EDCTP World TB Day was held in all TB sites (In Cameroon, at the University of Yaoundé I on the 22nd March 2018; The 24th March 2018 at Centre de Recherches sur les Maladies Infectieuses, Brazzaville RoC and the 14th April 2018 at Centre de Recherches Medicales de Lambarene, Gabon) on the theme “Wanted: Leaders for a TB free World”. This day was an opportunity for the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) through the Central Africa Network for Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM) Network to shed light on the obscure daily lives of the victims of this burden and the actions of ordinary heroes in the fight against this infection, mobilizing political and social commitment to further progress towards its control and elimination.

The organization of this event first of all aimed at increasing the visibility of the EDCTP initiative through the CANTAM network program activities and also presenting to the scientific community and stakeholders the main achievements of CANTAM TB project.

The TB event has the purpose to bring together CANTAM TB members, representatives of Ministries of Health, Hospitals and TB treatment Centers, Dean of Faculties, scientists, researchers, national Tuberculosis Control Program, Doctorate Degree students and Master Degree students.

This celebration provided a scientific platform for presentations, exchanges and discussions that was an opportunity to establish more collaboration and synergy among the different scientists, researchers, stakeholders and others participants.

Those seminars clearly indicated that EDCTP and CANTAM programs clearly contribute in enhancing collaborative efforts of partners and countries, and thus in maximizing efficacy to knowledge development. CANTAM2 believes that capacity development gives central African researchers the opportunity to learn by doing, to utilize the developed capacity to ensure a successful outcome and capacity retention. This partnership ensures synergy and optimal use of resources and creates a win-win situation for all parties involved.

EDCTP and CANTAM are addressing a great thanks to all the attendees for their very active and intense participation

CANTAM is therefore an instrument for promotion of scientific cooperation between Central African and others northern and southern partners.

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