CAPE TOWN | Innovation, public-private partnerships and integrated medical research responses are the underlying principles guiding the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC’s) ammunition in the continued fight against HIV/AIDS and co-morbidities such as tuberculosis (TB).
“Improving the economic health of our country requires investment into research and development”, says Professor Richard Gordon, Executive Director of the SAMRC’s Grants, Innovation and Product Development (GIPD) Unit.
Gordon who leads the GIPD team uses core funding streams and funding streams made possible through strategic partnerships to invest into programmes, research and projects aimed at delivering local solutions for global challenges. GIPD, in the 2016/17 financial year, directed in excess of ZAR 246 million into responsive medical research. The strategic partnerships funding stream holds great promise with partners such as the Department of Science and Technology (DST) contributing substantially to fund drug discovery, vaccines, new diagnostic tools, medical devices and genetics in various disease areas.
“The disease burdens in South Africa are unique but not exclusive. Collaboration is an elixir that will propel taking evidence based health solutions to scale”, Gordon iterated.
HIV/AIDS and TB are still the leading causes of mortality in South Africa with HIV at 23 times higher than the global average and TB at seven times higher respectively. The SAMRC’s GIPD unit through its Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) office has created opportunities for collaboration, capacity development and enriching the innovation agenda as part of the response solution to disease profiles.
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