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International Clinical Trials

Up and Coming

In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa remains the optimal location for trials. It accounts for approximately 58% of the total clinical studies conducted within the region and continues to operate as a regional hub. South Africaís regulatory framework and relatively high level of healthcare infrastructure and public health system make it attractive for trials (1).

The majority of trials that take place in Sub-Saharan Africa are grant-funded and focus on infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Countries like Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali and Tanzania are emerging as viable locations. Both pharmaceutical companies and CROs have been expanding their presence throughout Kenya in the east and Ghana in the west, whereas Nigeria is emerging as a satellite hub to support the growth of clinical trials in this region. Efforts should be taken to harmonise regulatory protocols for the conduct of studies across the continent as most of the guidelines currently vary from country to country.

Development Opportunities

To promote the conduct of clinical research in the region, the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR) was established by the South African Cochrane Centre in collaboration with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group. It is an official registry affiliated with the WHO Network of Primary Registers. The PACTR also provides data to the central WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, so that studies listed in the archive are available through a global platform (2).

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Saravanan Thangaraj is a Senior Research Analyst in the Transformational Health group at Frost & Sullivan. He has over three years of experience in management consulting, has advised clients on strategy and business and has also authored many off-the-shelf industry insight reports during his time at the company. Saravananís experience includes biotechnology, pharma, life sciences, in vitro diagnostic devices and health systems. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology and a Master of Business Administration from PSG College of Technology, India.
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