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New project to improve drugs safety in East Africa

In recent years, access to drugs and vaccines has been increasing in many African countries, but the systems for monitoring treatment effects and reporting side-effects require further development. Karolinska Institutet in Sweden will now lead an international collaboration project on pharmacovigilance – drugs safety – in four countries in East Africa.

Those taking part in the project, known as PROFORMA, are researchers from Karolinska Institutet, researchers and experts from universities and regulatory authorities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, and some regional and international stakeholders in the field of drugs safety. The total project funding is EUR 6 million, of which the major part is provided by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation-Horizon2020, via the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). Among other significant funding bodies is the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). “The main aim of this project is to strengthen the national infrastructures for drugs safety monitoring in our partner countries in Africa. This involves developing regulatory capacity for routine surveillance and reporting, and training of staff working in healthcare and medical services and regulatory authorities,” says Eleni Aklillu, senior researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and scientific coordinator for the project. Right now, she is in Ethiopia attending the national kick-off meeting for PROFORMA. PROFORMA is estimated to last five years. The project also involves training at Master’s and postgraduate level and exchange of knowledge in general between researchers and experts. “The increasing number of clinical trials and different types of mass drug administration and vaccination programmes in African countries underlines the need to strengthen pharmacovigilance infrastructure. One important tool is to improve collaboration between the Medical Universities and regulatory authorities in the countries concerned, and we’ve already made good progress in this area during the few months we’ve been working on the project,” says Eleni Aklillu. Facts about PROFORMA Project title: Pharmacovigilance infrastructure and post-marketing surveillance system capacity building for regional medicine regulatory harmonization in East Africa (PROFORMA) Project funding: EUR 6 million, to be spread over five years, of which approx EUR 3 million will be funded by Horizon2020/EDCTP. Other funding bodies are SIDA, Karolinska Institutet, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (Kenya), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Tanzania), and the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority. Project period: 1 March 2018 – 28 February 2023 (60 months) Coordinator: Eleni Aklillu, Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet Website: Please address any further queries to: Dr Eleni Aklillu, Associate Professor, Scientific Coordinator Telephone: +46-858587887 or +46-735116131 Mobile number when travelling: +251-968101763 Skype: eaklillu E-mail: Personal web page: Hanna Gador, Project Administrator Tel: 08-58583801 E-mail: Contact the KI Press Office: Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for the single largest share of all academic medical research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.


pharmacovigilance, drugs safety, East Africa


Ethiopia, Kenya, Netherlands, Rwanda, Sweden, Tanzania