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South Africa: Boost for African Medical Innovation
Source: Government Info
Source Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Jan 31, 2014

Two programmes
The multi-year partnerships will support two distinct programmes:
In the first programme, researchers from across South Africa will compete for funding from the MRC's Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) earmarked for the development of AIDS and TB vaccines.
This initiative has received $11.7-million (about R125-million) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, R130-million from the Department of Science and Technology, and R60-million from the Department of Health.
SHIP's role will be to build on the scientific leadership of South African scientists in these diseases and establish, fund and manage research programmes on innovative products and approaches to prevent AIDS and TB.
The second programme will enable UCT's Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) to build on its experiences and track record in integrated modern drug discovery and preclinical development to the develop novel clinical drug candidtes to address TB and malaria challenges.
In addition to R50-million funding from SHIP and the Technology Innovation Agency, H3-D will receive $5 million (about R55-million) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over five years.
African science solutions
The partnerships also aim to fulfil the longer-term goal to develop a critical mass of top-flight South African scientists in the field, able to compete at high international levels.
"We believe our partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MRC and government helps us develop Africa-generated solutions to African problems," Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, UCT's acting vice-chancellor, said at the MRC offices in Tygerberg outside Cape Town last week.
He said that UCT's HD-3 showed that research not only created new knowledge but new jobs, career opportunities, and infrastructure - and reversed the brain drain.
"It's exciting to come and work in Africa," he said.
Dr Trevor Mundel, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Programme, said the partnerships had enormous potential to tackle the tough challenges and support those most in need in South Africa and across the continent.
"South Africa has world-class researchers and the infrastructure necessary to develop the kinds of innovative health solutions needed to accelerate progress against TB, HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases," he said.
Edited version of a story first published in UCT's Monday Monthly. Published here with kind permission.
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