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Clinical Trials Community

Only 2% of the clinical trials conducted globally occur on the African continent. There are many factors contributing to this low investment, but we would like to highlight 2 topics relevant to this update report: the dearth of knowledge on the location and capabilities of existing clinical trial sites, and the uncertainties associated with competency, expectations, and timelines of regulatory and ethical reviews across the 55 African countries. For these reasons, the process of site feasibility analysis can be onerous for the trial sites and time-consuming and expensive for the trial sponsors. 

The African Academy of Sciences led an effort to identify gaps, elicit stakeholder interest via a pilot project, and eventually obtained funding to develop an open-access platform that will bring together key players in the clinical trials space to; increase their visibility, provide site feasibility intelligence important in decision making and encourage continuous engagement among stakeholders. Our initial pool of stakeholders include: local and international clinical researchers, biopharma representatives, product development partners, African regulatory representatives and clinical trial participants. 

To this end, a series of stakeholder engagement meetings were held in 2019 to gather user requirements that will shape key elements of the platform.  Using this data, the AAS will work with experts in software development and seek input from an advisory committee to prioritize identified elements and pave the way for the actual development of the system. This will be followed by a series of meetings with representatives from the various stakeholder groups. These meetings will allow participants to provide real-time feedback on the platform’s functionality thus informing future iterations to meet user needs.  

Database Developer: In 2019, The African Academy of Sciences began the implementation of the first phase of the Clinical Trials Community (CTC) by of gathering in-depth user requirements and other preliminary work necessary to inform the development of a centralised, open-access platform of clinical research sites and capabilities on the African continent.  . The user requirements have been collated and the AAS team has spent considerable time synthesising all the user requirement data obtained thus far and will  prioritise features that will go onto the platform in consultation with the  CTC advisory committee.  The next phase will be to build a beta version of the platform also referred to as the minimum viable product (MVP) 

Stakeholder Engagement and Needs Assessment

The Academy hosted seven consultative workshops for scientists, international clinical researchers, biopharma representatives, product development partners (PDPs), and African regulatory representatives across the continent to gather the user requirements. Stakeholder engagement has also been key to get buy-in and to establish the structure and format of this collaborative platform.

The meetings were conducted across the continent as shown in the below:

clinical trials

clinica trials key lessons

User Profiling

  • Register/update/browse users
  • Filter users (Researchers) based on search criteria
  • Collaboration/Networking

Regulatory Bodies & Ethical Committee

  • Add/Update Ethics & Regulatory information
  • View/List/search for RB/EC data.
  • Generate reports on RB/EC requirements per country.

Clinical Trial Sites

  • Profile/Update site Capacities & Capabilities
  • Browse/Search sites
  • Import Clinical trials and site data
  • Export/Generate reports

3rd Party Integration

  • Linkage to other existing partner systems.

An advisory committee comprising reputable experts in the clinical trials space on the African continent has been set up to advise the AAS:

  • David Ishola- London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Issaka Sagara- Malaria Research and Training Center, Mali
  • Thomas Nyirenda-EDCTP, South Africa
  • Sameh Trabelsi- The Research Laboratory in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology - Tunisia
  • Priscilla Nyambayo- Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe
  • Jerome Singh-Bioethics, CAPRISA, South Africa.
  • Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda-NEPAD-AUDA, South Africa
  • Skhumbuzo Ngozwana- Kiara Health, a CRO, South Africa
  • MAIGA Diadie-WHO - Afro, Congo Brazzaville
  • Jeanine Condo- Rwanda Biomedical Center - Rwanda
  • Trudie Lang-The Global Health Network (TGHN)

Meet the Team

AESA Team Member
Thomas Kariuki Director of Programmes
AESA Team Member
Jenniffer Maroa Programme Manager
AESA Team Member
Caxton Murira Product Specialist
AESA Team Member
Rosalyn Wamuyu Grants Officer
AESA Team Member
Colin Pillai Senior advisor to CTC