The first day of the Ninth EDCTP Forum started with a meeting of the EDCTP Alumni Network. The objectives of the EDCTP Alumni Network are:
- To provide a mechanism by which EDCTP can profile all Fellows and keep up to date with their career progress and ongoing research projects
- To provide a tool that facilitates easier networking and collaboration among EDCTP Fellows and the extended research community
- To increase the visibility of the EDCTP comprehensive fellowship programme and demonstrate the lasting impact of investing in the capacity building of African-based scientists.
At the meeting, current and former EDCTP Fellows focused their discussion on building leadership capacity in Africa. Several messages from speakers and panellists stood out:
Dr Leonardo Simão, EDCTP’s High Representative South said: “Change the paradigm in which Northern researchers will come to work in sub-Saharan Africa and then leave the country without having put capacity in place in Africa. This should end!”
Dr Michael Makanga proudly said: “516 medical staff and scientists were trained by EDCTP. A total of 146 Fellows have been funded”, no doubt aware of the challenge ahead to close the research capacity gap. The fellow’s network is one of the tools.
Professor Hannah Akuffo, the Swedish representative in the General Assembly and working at the Swedish international development agency (Sida), pointed out the importance of mentoring the next generation of researchers: “When you want to be a mentor, try to be the mentor you wanted to have yourself.”
Professor Francine Ntoumi (CANTAM), never hesitant to take on a challenge, stated this blunt call to action: “The Central African region is a blank corridor of research in Africa.”
Please visit www.edctpalumninetwork.org for more information about the EDCTP Alumni Network.