HIV-vaccine Research Workshop Under Way
ADDIS ABABA, March 18 (ENA) – Ethiopia hosts a two-day workshop in "the possibility of initiating vaccine against HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia" where foreign-based researchers will share their knowledge on HIV vaccines with local researchers, health workers, social scientists, politicians and other professionals.
Addressing the gathering at Addis Ababa Hilton here yesterday, Dr. Lamiso Hayeso, Vice Minister of Health, said that the government of Ethiopia has endorsed an HIV/AIDS policy and is on the way to establishing a National HIV/AIDS Council.
Dr. Lamiso said that consistent attempts to look into strategies so far "have not allowed us to hope for rapid end of the epidemic". Indicating that further "insight" is needed, he said a more challenging task awaits scientists. "I hope you'll consider in your scientific deliberations all alternatives and carefully identify possible futures directions and proposals that may help mitigate the epidemic and stop the regression of social and economic developments, Dr. Lamiso concluded.
According to Dr. Aberra Geyid, director of Ethiopia Health and Nutrition Research Institute and chairman of HIV/AIDS Vaccine, a Research Workshop Organizing Committee, the objective of the workshop was to create awareness among the scientific, medical and research communities of the country about the development of vaccine against HIV/AIDS.
He indicated that based on such awareness, recommendations that may emerge from the workshop will give researchers clues on what should be done next.
Among highlights of the workshop agenda are the outcomes of free thematic discussion groups, "pros and cons of HIV vaccine
research," "available interventions for HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia," and next to steps to be taken in a vaccine research programme in Ethiopia.
Recommendations of the workshop are expected to assist policy makers in agreeing on whether Ethiopia will in fact be able to
engage in HIV vaccine research. According to a press release distributed during the workshop, strong laboratory support, both locally and overseas, will be essential to the success of this effort. The Ethio-Netherlands AIDS Research Project (ENARP) is said to offer a "unique structure" for the evaluation" HIV-1 subtype c vaccine candidate."
ENARP is a bilateral project between the governments of Ethiopia and the Netherlands, with a strong capacity building component which started in 1994 with the creation of reference laboratory on HIV/AIDS in Addis Ababa, the release said.
Participants of the workshop are external researchers with good knowledge and experience of vaccine research in other countries, from America, Asia, the Netherlands and also some local medical doctors, scientists, researchers from government ministries, organizations and state health bureaux representatives, it was learnt.
The British Embassy and the World Health Organization financed the workshop, it was learnt.