Sub-Saharan Africa is still challenged by the heavy death toll caused by poverty related diseases (PRDs) such as HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
To contribute to the improvement of the health system in this region of Africa, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) supports four regional networks of excellence (WANETAM, CANTAM, EACCR and TESA), with the objective to build essential capacities to conduct clinical trials aligned to international standards.
The WANETAM network is being implemented in 13 West African institutions in nine countries with partnerships from four northern partners. A key feature of the WANETAM project is that the stronger research institutions in the Network provide support and practical skill-based training to the weaker research institutions covering researcher development, scientific support as well as platform and infrastructure support. Currently, a significant part of the network activities are being led by the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM. The malaria work package is led by Professor Umberto D’Alessandro with objectives to build capacities in the following areas:
- Malaria transmission: The evaluation of new community-based interventions aiming at interrupting malaria transmission in West Africa.
- Insecticide resistance: The evaluation of the efficacy of new insecticides and the monitoring of insecticide resistance.
- Safety and efficacy: To determine safety and efficacy of new treatments and vaccines.
The West Africa network of excellence for clinical trials in TB, AIDS, and Malaria (WANETAM) is part of the EDCTP2 Programme, supported by The European Union. WANETAM 2 proposes a renewed consortium, to build on the previous achievements in capacity building for clinical studies and interventions. The new network has established a structured training and collaboration programme through thematic nodes of excellence in TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria and a new capacity strengthening in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) and Ebola. In addition, cross-cutting training are planned to enhance professional development and scientific competency in clinical trials and research support.
The strategy of training and collaboration will focus on project-based training to build research leadership; hands-on clinical studies; resource and platform infrastructure development for data sharing and collaborative research; surveillance to build the evidence-base needed for designing clinical trials; diagnostics to support interventions; and building quality assurance management to support the steps for laboratory accreditation.