Our country and the United States of America have just renewed their partnership within the framework of the Collaborative Biomedical Research Program between the University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTTB) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof. Amadou Keïta and the United States of America Ambassador to Mali, Dennis Hankins, signed a framework agreement to this effect. This agreement, which extends over a period of 5 years, defines the main lines of research, the various areas of interest and the legal framework for collaboration between our two countries.
The partnership which was signed for the first time in 1992 is renewed every 5 years. It made Mali a leader in the global effort to fight malaria. The renewal of the framework agreement guarantees the continuation of the lasting partnership and strengthens the links of scientific collaboration between our two countries. This has produced positive impacts as evidenced by the results since 1989.
For example, the International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) is one of the largest international collaborative research projects of the NIH. More than 600 Malians work there. Mali and the United States have also built a world-class biomedical research infrastructure at USTTB.
Local research and innovation capacity has made it possible to publish more than 450 scientific articles. The biosafety laboratory level 3 (BSL-3) of the University Clinical Research Center (UCRC), created in 2003, has supported the response to multiple diseases such as the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Scientists have recently been trained in the diagnosis of Covid-19. USTTB rector Prof Ouaténi Diallo recalled that scientific cooperation between our two countries began in 1989 with a handful of teacher-researchers from the National School of Medicine and Dentistry (FMOS) and Pharmacy (FAPH).
These pioneers had the bright idea of having a scientific collaboration with their American colleagues, he welcomed, before adding that these pioneers also believed with the same partners in Malian genius, by investing in the training of the most youth. The American diplomat praised the cooperative efforts between his country and ours. “We are very proud of the American-Malian partnership. We hope that in the coming years, research will benefit more in Mali, ”explained Dennis Hankins.
As for the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, he recalled that deadly epidemics have occurred all over Africa. While Ebola disease claimed more than 11,000 lives in West Africa between 2014 and 2015, new cases of the epidemic were further discovered in Guinea last week. And to note that this partnership has made it possible to create and equip many laboratories with international standards. It has also enabled the training of a critical mass of Malian teacher-researchers.
Ibrahima DIA, Communication-Officer