Deliberations on COVID-19 at the International Clinical Trials Day 2021

CDT-Africa of AAU held a panel discussion on the overall trends of COVID-19 during the deliberation of International Clinical Trials Day 2021 at Intercontinental Hotel on the 20th of May 2021.

A panel discussion held both virtually and in person with medical scholars from home and overseas focused on vaccine development challenges and opportunities, vaccine hesitance and biological features of vaccines for COVID-19, progress and future scopes, clinical trial on medical herbs for supportive treatment, experience on clinical trial authorization, ….

Professor Afework Kassu, Sate Minister at the FDRE Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE), said the following focused on overall steps taken by Ethiopian government and higher institutions to respond the pandemic:

Discussions of such forums at the national level are not only about transferring knowledge but also about strengthening coordination among us. Setting up this forum in COVID-19 is a reflection of a resilience that demonstrates we do not interrupt our work while responding to challenges.

As it is known, after COVID-19 entered our country, we have done a lot of work as a country. It is known that our government has deployed various bodies to make institutions responsive and a lot of work has been done.

One of the highlights of this work was the response of our higher education institutions. It was a catastrophic disease when we did not have a prepared and strong national response, but our universities have done a lot to prevent that.

Awareness creation is one of the most important activities and our people have heard the voices of the scholars and made the total risk lower than expected which could have been much devastating.

Our higher institutions had done extensive work at a time when we couldn’t find protective equipment in the market. They bought, even produced and distributed face masks and sanitizers for free and later at lower costs.

As we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, we as a nation need to build the capacity needed in this sector. When COVID-19 entered our country, we did not have laboratories ready for testing, so we tested the first several samples by sending them abroad.

By examining the internal capacity of our country’s institutions, we have been able to increase our ability to test COVID in a short period of time by mobilizing PCR machines that have been covered for years through mobilizing and training scholars, technicians, and integrating our higher education institutions with hospitals.

Based on what we have learned from this, we need to increase our national diagnostic and experimental capacity to support clinical trials in infrastructure, materials and human resource development. It is important to realize that institutional linkages are essential to this.

Our country Ethiopia is the Land of Origins because it has a lot of ancient, unscientific and untapped knowledge and wisdom. We can put those things into practice by research and study. To this end, higher education, research institutes, industry and the community need to work together.

When the development of COVID-19 vaccine started at the world level, our country, Ethiopia, responded through its institutions. Some vaccines have entered our country and our citizens are getting vaccinated. In the future, it is important to not only get the vaccine, but also to produce it.

There are some misconceptions surrounding the use of the vaccine, and we need to work harder to create awareness among educational institutions to correct these tendencies. I assure you that MoSHE is always there to support all activities in respect to controlling and eradicating the COVID pandemic.”


By: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa