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Global health leaders need to engage African governments, foster public-private partnerships, and increase funding for researching and developing lifesaving health interventions, members of the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) told policymakers, researchers, industry representatives, and global health practitioners last month in a seminar at the Embassy of Italy.

On October 17, 2008, the GHTC, for which PATH serves as secretariat, presented a panel on the importance of research and development for health technologies at an event entitled “Global Health in the 21st Century: The Latest Successful Perspectives.” Hosted by the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, the panel discussion included representatives from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, as well as Arthur Allen, author of Vaccine: the Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver. The discussion highlighted recent research and development and addressed the importance of strengthening clinical trial capacity in developing countries, using public–private partnerships, and supporting innovative financing and increased public funding to address global health research needs.

Among the panel speakers was Dr. Tonya Villafana, MVI director of portfolio management, who stressed the importance of conducting clinical trials in endemic countries to build research capacity, raise awareness, and ensure availability and accessibility of the eventual product. Dr. Villafana noted that researchers must engage community members and clinical trial participants to ensure that they are fully informed about the trials in their communities—including having information about trial procedures, risks, and options.

Rachel Wilson, PATH’s director of Policy and Advocacy, moderated the panel on behalf of the GHTC. The coalition is a group of nongovernmental organizations supporting policies to accelerate research and development of global health technologies for resource-poor settings.

Posted November 21, 2008.