Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
SANBio is an intergovernmental organisation and flagship programme which falls under the NEPAD/African Biosciences Initiative.
Its main objective is to build and strengthen capacity in biosciences through networking, promotion of scientific excellence and harnessing of indigenous knowledge for sustainable utilisation of natural resources and wealth creation in Southern Africa.
The Lusaka workshop brought together more than 40 participants from a broad range of stakeholders including representatives of governments, traditional and medical doctors, universities and research institutes.
The SANBio countries include : Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the workshop were :
determine the scope of technology or policy required to scientifically validate claims of treatment for HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections ;
identify and select most suitable research institutions per country ;
decide on operating project principles such as financial controls and disbursements ;
determine the opportunistic infections on which to focus ;
understand and develop guidelines for protection of intellectual property rights and safeguarding rights of holders of indigenous knowledge ;
establish selection criteria to prioritise biodiversity species for research, including interactions with holders of indigenous knowledge ;
review any data that may exist or is being generated through clinical observations on patients voluntarily being treated by traditional healers for HIV and opportunistic infections.
Officially opening the workshop, the Zambian Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Brigadier-General (Dr) Brian Chituwo, said more people were now seeking the services of traditional doctors for their health needs than ever before, particularly with the advent of HIV/AIDS.
Dr Chituwo said it was for this reason that traditional medicines and remedies should not be looked down upon and dismissed out hand.
Synergy and collaboration was needed between traditional doctors, conventional doctors trained in modern science and scientists in the validation of traditional medicines.
The Minister said that in order to achieve adherence to professional ethics, to protect intellectual property rights and avoid mistrust between traditional practitioners and other stakeholders, there was need to introduce legislation.
After interactive sessions in which participants engaged in group discussions on the objectives of the workshop, the following outcomes were noted :
that some expertise existed in the region but was not coordinated ;
national agendas were not clear ;
in most countries capacity and infrastructure was limited ;
need for legal framework for the region ;
need to build human resource capacity.
A project plan of action and budget for establishing a regional framework for collaboration in traditional medicine was drawn up together with an indicative inventory of regional capacity in research on traditional medicine and HIV/AIDS.
The workshop was followed by a SANBio Steering Committee meeting on 17 March at which policy and operational issues around SANBio were discussed, including an application for a SANBio node on bioinformatics in Zimbabwe. The application was accepted in principle subject to Zimbabwe providing a written submission.
This brings the total number of SANBio nodes to three. The others are the fisheries node in Malawi and the mushroom farming node in Namibia. Source : NEPAD News, march 30, 2007