As part of its effort towards changing the clinical trial paradigm in Africa, Xcene Research, a pioneer African contract research organisation, is set to host industry experts in the research, pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry at the 4th Impact Africa Summit (IAS), which holds from 30 November to 2 December, 2023, at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria.
The conference, with the theme: “Strengthening an emerging sector in diverse markets through local partnership and participation” aims to illuminate the vast potential of clinical trials in Sub-Saharan Africa and chart a course for the comprehensive integration of all sectors within the region’s healthcare framework.
Speaking at a press conference held at Mariot Hotel, Lagos, the Executive Director of IAS, Adebukunola Telufusi, said the summit’s theme was apt, adding that it embodies the essence of what the organisation aims to achieve over the 3 days of the summit, as it reﬂects their commitment to foster inclusion, collaboration, and the building of capacity within the clinical trials sector in Africa.
Telufusi, who is the convener of the summit, noted that the 2023 Summit endeavours to achieve two primary objectives, the first which aims at leveraging local resources and expertise to propel innovation and fortify the African clinical trials sector, while the second aims at empowering local participation.
Emphasising the engagement of local community and healthcare practitioners in the research process, she said they create opportunities for empowerment and capacity building.
“Over the forthcoming days, our agenda encompasses professional workshops, therapeutic symposiums, and influential forums. Esteemed leaders from Africa and across the globe will share insights into the pivotal role of clinical trials in advancing healthcare and pharmaceutical breakthroughs in Africa”, she said.
While appreciating the clinical trials and healthcare regulatory authorities in Nigeria, whose dedication and unwavering commitment have been instrumental in facilitating the summit, she noted that the conference transcends dialogue, adding that it Is a catalyst for tangible change in the realm of clinical trials, bringing the continent one stride closer to a healthier, more inclusive future for all.
In her speech, Dr Nneka Onyejepu, senior researcher at Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), noted that collaborative partnership is the key, adding that there is a need to leverage all the local resources we have as a country, including humans to undertake a clinical trial according to the risk analysis.
“I am excited that we’re talking about partnership, not just local, but all of us. If we come together, the press, the community, the practitioners, the patients, the participants, and the researchers, if we come together, we can take clinical trials to the next level”, she said.
Also speaking, Dr Beno Nyam Yakubu, deputy director at NAFDAC, noted that Nigeria loses about 1 billion naira annually on medical tourism, adding that the best way to address the challenge is by empowering clinical trials through local partnership and participation.
According to Yakubu, so far, so good, the relationship between NAFDAC and Xcene has been cordial, adding that despite the fact that there could be issues once in a while, the relationship has stood the test of time. “We really commend Xcene for taking the lead in organising such a conference like this which has been on for the past three editions, and we are hopeful that the forthcoming fourth edition would no doubt be a successful one,” he said.
Dr Faramola Ogunkoya, project manager, Xcene Research, highlighted the exceptional programmes comprising workshops, symposiums, and market exchange forums covering Haematology, Nephrology, regulatory, clinical operations, and patient advocacy topics, which she noted are geared towards fostering conversations to bridge the gap in health equity.
She added, “The Impact Africa Summit is anticipated to draw a diverse audience, including researchers, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, regulatory authorities, policymakers, and investors. The summit will further solidify Africa’s standing as a preeminent destination for clinical trials”, she stressed.