11th DNDi Partners’ Meeting celebrates African leadership in innovation for R&D and access to medicines

 

Meeting opened by Ugandan Prime Minister convenes public & private sector partners from more than 40 countries  

On 4 October 2018, DNDi held its 11th Partners’ Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting gathered together more than 400 partners and stakeholders from over 150 institutions and more than 40 countries, primarily African.

The event celebrated African leadership in innovation for R&D and access to medicines and was the first of several events planned to mark the occasion of DNDi’s 15th anniversary. Panel discussions highlighted the importance of partnerships and the continuing need to break new ground in African-led R&D, harmonized regulation, and health access strategies for neglected patients that would ultimately provide a template for universal health coverage.

The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister of Uganda, the Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who called the meeting a “true testament of collaboration and partnership for neglected patients” and reiterated his own government’s commitment to supporting the search for improved treatments for neglected diseases and patients. The Prime Minister’s remarks were prefaced by the Honourable Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda.

A powerful keynote was delivered by Dr Kelly Chibale, Director of the H3D Centre, the drug discovery institute at the University of Cape Town University, who was recently named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 50 global leaders for 2018. In conversation with Dr Nick White, Chair, DNDi Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr Chibale set the tone for the day with his call for innovation in Africa, by Africa, for Africa and for the world.

A ministerial panel comprising Dr Henry Mwebesa, Director-General Health Services, Ministry of Health, Uganda, Dr Rashid Abdi Aman, the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Health, Kenya, and the Honourable Abdelhakim Hassan Nugud Salih, the Minister of Health, Gedaref State, Sudan spoke about the urgent need for improved treatments for neglected tropical diseases and for children living with HIV, and their work to increase treatment access and reach elimination goals in their respective countries.

The Partners’ Meeting was the culmination of several days of disease-specific meetings in Kampala and benefited from summary presentations on the progress, challenges and current priorities of several, including: the 25th Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP) Meeting; the 5th Joint human African trypanosomiasis Platform-East Africa Network for Trypanosomiasis Scientific Meeting; a meeting of the Onchocerciasis Network; and the first meeting of the Paediatric HIV Network.

Other panels included perspectives from three Eastern African countries on enhancing medical research capacities and a lively conversation among eight speakers, moderated by DNDi Board Chair Dr Marie-Paule Kieny and Executive Director Dr Bernard Pécoul, on building an enabling environment to enhance Africa’s R&D and regulatory capacities.

 

View the programme for the day’s events.

Check back soon for video coverage of key sessions.