“The crisis brought about by the Covid19 pandemic has not only revealed the systemic weaknesses in healthcare infrastructure in many places, but also that the developing world remains far too reliant on rich countries to discover, develop, manufacture and supply the rest of us with vaccines and medicines,” wrote Kelly Chibale, founder and director of H3D, in The Star (21 July 21 (2021).

Local talent has to be nurtured by training, mentoring and supporting, the continent’s scientists, doctors and researchers, and encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in the sector.

Infrastructure and manufacturing capability should be developed.

“It is important to build on pockets of excellence that have an established infrastructure, a culture of entrepreneurship and a proven ability to deliver. For this reason, bottom-up initiatives such as the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) are vital steps towards creating a critical mass of scientists and developing the capacity to drive and sustain innovative research and development projects. Among many other projects, the centre is researching the effect of genetic diversity in African populations on the metabolism of drugs, with the aim of developing optimal therapies to improve treatment outcomes in African patients,” wrote Chibale.

 

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