In September 2000, the European Commission (EC) made a special communication on an "accelerated action targeted at major communicable diseases within the context of poverty reduction". Within this frame (following EC recommendations to develop innovative partnership, expand the research portfolio and create global mechanisms and incentives to direct research and development to the major communicable diseases that disproportionately affect the developing countries), this consortium proposes to convene a workshop examining major salient issues related to the fight against tuberculosis. The aim of this workshop is to develop a new research agenda for coherent and concerted research actions on tuberculosis in Africa, strengthening coordination of research activities in Europe and in Africa. This workshop will take place in Dakar (Senegal) in April or May 2001 for a duration of three days.
The overall objective of the workshop is to develop an agenda for concerted research actions to improve prevention and treatment of TB in Africa. The specific objectives are:
1) to examine the means to improve access to prevention and treatment of TB
to the most vulnerable groups in Africa
2) to develop innovative approaches to improve TB control through increased partnership and faster delivery mechanisms
3) to develop actions for the development of new products (vaccines/drugs) aimed at improving the fight against TB and build up a clinical trial capacity through the national TB control programmes in Africa
4) to examine ways of testing new tools for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in Africa
5) to set up a network of scientists based in Africa and Europe working in collaboration to research for the prevention and treatment of TB.
During this workshop, the present situation of research on the means of controlling TB and future prospects for research will be addressed within four areas:
1) a new tool for the diagnosis of TB in Africa
2) a new treatment of TB
3) improving treatment delivery
4) new vaccines against TB.
These areas will be addressed by four groups composed of six to eight experts. After an introductory state-of-the-art lecture that will summarise the state of research and present prospects in each of these areas, the groups will discuss development of new research projects, strategies and partnership. A list of specific questions will be proposed to the experts for discussion. Participants will ensure that research priorities are consistent with what the needs are in the field; that researchers from Africa are involved in the early priority settings, and that countries that host clinical trials see their communities and scientists participating adequately and benefiting from the results. An important part must be devoted to identifying the means to build up capacity and infrastructure in Africa to conduct multi-centre trials in the near future.
At the end of the workshop, a list of specific recommendations will be made to set up bases for new research activities on TB in Africa, developing new partnerships and new areas for EU/African research coordination. A concise report will be produced and delivered to the EC, describing a concise research agenda for the accelerated action against TB. This report will focus on innovative aspects and will include proposals for the development of new projects and areas of research to be supported in the future by the EC.
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
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