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Roche Partners UCH to Raise Inclusive Standard Clinical Trials in Africa, kicks-off AIR Africa Site Alliance Project

 As part of an innovative alliance with healthcare ecosystems to enhance inclusive quality clinical trials in Africa, Roche has partnered with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State to launch its Advancing Inclusive Research (AIR) Africa Site Alliance Project.

Since the African continent is one of the underrepresented groups in global clinical trials, Roche is working with stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to establish the groundwork for normative clinical trials there. Despite accounting for more than 24% of the world’s disease burden, African patients make up fewer than 2% of those participating in global pharmaceutical research and just 1% of genetic data.

“Healthcare stakeholders, including the FDA, are putting more pressure on clinical trials around the world to include a wider variety of underrepresented populations. In contrast to the 17% of the world’s population that resides on the continent, Roche clinical trials in 2020 only enrolled 63 African individuals. If no action is taken, these problems could get worse. According to Ladi Hameed, general manager of Roche Products Nigeria Limited, “This absence of clinical trial data for African patients restricts access and the availability of novel medicine to African patients.

“The vision of the Roche Advancing Inclusive Research (AIR) Africa Site Alliance project is to create a site network in Africa to enable recruitment and retention of underrepresented patient populations to enrich science and enable the delivery of innovation so we can eliminate disparity in outcomes for all patients.”

UCH is one of the four AIR Africa Site Alliance project centers of excellence across Africa with the others located in Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.

Hameed added that the collaboration is aligned with Roche’s global commitment to the pursuit of scientific excellence and innovation for the discovery and development of medical and diagnostic solutions for improving and saving the lives of people around the world.

“The University College Hospital, Ibadan is Nigeria’s premier tertiary health institution notable for delivering qualitative medicare services. The establishment of the Roche Advancing Inclusive Research (AIR) Africa Site Alliance project further bolsters the collaborative efforts of the government and private sector to improve diversity and inclusion in clinical research in Nigeria, and indeed across Africa. This site alliance project will ultimately improve access to clinical trials by hospitals, specialists, and healthcare practitioners alike using UCH as a Centre of Excellence in Nigeria,” he stated.

Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, Chief Medical Director of UCH, said: “This initiative further affirms Roche as a valuable partner within the healthcare ecosystem committed to bridging the inequality and lack of diversity that has characterized the clinical trial landscape on the African continent. The management and the entire UCH community including all our internal and stakeholders are indeed, very excited at the Roche Advancing Inclusive Research (AIR) Africa Site Alliance project being at the University College Hospital.”

He expressed confidence that as Nigeria’s premier tertiary health institution, the new facility on completion would boost the capacity of the hospital and personnel to deliver more excellent service delivery. He further assured the company that the centre would be put to judicious use while thanking Roche for making UCH the choice centre of excellence for the project.

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