20 March 2016

Cameroon: Chantal Biya Research Centre - Italian Govt At the Heart of Activities

Besides technical and financial supports, they are at the forefront in the implementation of the project "Families First Africa".

From February 2006 until date, the government of Italy has been spearheading activities carried out by the Chantal Biya International Reference Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management, CIRCB.

The centre's inauguration on February 23, 2006 was made possible through enormous financial and technical support from the Italian government not only to set up the four main laboratories in the centre, but also to carry out research works geared toward preventing HIV, providing care to those living with the virus as well as reinforcing research for an imminent vaccine. Today, information reveals that one of the prominent projects sponsored by the Italian government at CIRCB is the "Families First Africa" project.

The "Families First Africa" project is a UNESCO initiative funded thanks to the Italian Government, and carried out together with the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention (Paris), the Institute of Human Virology (Baltimore) and the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (Rome), to assist HIV/AIDS programmes of Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

The Project's three essential goals are described by the acronym ACT, that is, advocate for family-oriented AIDS prevention programmes, especially targeting new interventions that reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission, create an international community linking Africa with developed countries with the common goal of reducing HIV spread through prevention while teaching the fundamental scientific and medical skills necessary to enable local prevention and research programs in Africa.

The project has permitted UNESCO and its financial partners to amongst other things develop scientific and educational partnerships between developed and developing countries while ensuring training and access to higher education programmes for African doctors.

Through the "Families First Africa" project, CIRCB has received funding for many years. In this light, the institution has received funding of one million Euros per year between 2006 and 2009. Technically, it should be recalled that some of CIRCB scientific personnel were trained in Italy.

Since its inception, CIRCB has been privileged to receive prominent Italian experts such as Dr. Giulia Cappelli, who led the CIRCB scientific committee from 2007 to 2009, alongside Pr. Vittorio Colizzi whose involvement in the history of CIRCB cannot be overemphasized, particularly in the scientific board. It should also be recalled that the CIRCB has important partnership with the Tor Vergata University, the Higher Institute of Health and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Spallanzani, all based in Rome.

The current visit of the daughter of the Italian President, Laura Mattarella, and the rich time she spent with researchers at the center is just a sign of intensifying cooperation between CIRCB and the Italian government which will continue with focus put on the support of Italy to the Prevention of Mother-Child HIV Transmission Programme (PMTCT).


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