Left to right: Dr. Se Eun Park, H.E. Kang Seok-hee, H.E. Dereje Duguma, Mr. Seunghwan Yang, and Dr. Shallo Dhaba cut the ribbon to officially open the AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 23, 2022.
May 23, 2022– SEOUL, Republic of Korea and ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), an international organization with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines, and Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), established by the Government of Ethiopia in collaboration with Save the Children Organizations of Norway and Sweden, held a ceremony today to launch the AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center.
The AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center is a research and training site to advance vaccines for global health. Collaborators from both organizations will conduct vaccine research and clinical development, engage in disease surveillance and policy studies, provide training across vaccinology, and support vaccine introduction programs. The AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center is the third of its kind, joining a network of IVI Collaborating Centers in Ghana and Madagascar with the aim of co-developing research projects and building in-country capacity.
Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, said: “The AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center embodies IVI’s mission to not only advance the science of vaccines and their widespread availability, but our equally important commitment to build vaccine R&D capacity everywhere we work. We’re extremely pleased to launch this research and training site with AHRI, particularly on the heels of our successful launch of a mass OCV vaccination campaign to protect 100,000 people from cholera. This collaborating center will provide even more opportunities to make real-world public health impact together.”
Prof. Afework Kassu, AHRI Director General, said: “Given IVI’s core mission of dedicating to vaccines and vaccination for global health in addition to its rich experience and wide international network makes IVI an ideal partner for AHRI to transfer technology particularly related to vaccinology science and to realize vaccine production in the country. Moreover, exchanging of staffs, academic, educational, scientific, and scholarly materials between AHRI and IVI is also instrumental for technology transfer and experience sharing that will definitely improve the capacity of both institutes to attain their respective institutional missions. Taking into consideration AHRI’s excellent track record of partnership with international organizations, I can assure you that AHRI will exert all its effort to make this collaboration centre productive.”
H.E. Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health in Ethiopia, said: “Ethiopia and Korea have had a fruitful cooperation that has spanned many decades. As a Ministry, we commend this collaboration that seeks to make vaccines accessible to the most vulnerable people of Ethiopia. However, this should not only stop with cholera vaccine, but should also, in the future, expand to other communicable and non-communicable diseases. The support given by IVI today and other pertinent stakeholders is important, and it should be known that Ethiopia is a gateway to Africa. Thus, working on such collaboration does not only have impact in Ethiopia, but also reaches other countries in Africa as well.”
H.E. Kang Seok-hee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Ethiopia, said: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taught us two lessons among other things: vaccine research must be encouraged, and the international community must work together to ensure swift and effective responses to infectious diseases. I hope this Collaborating Center will strengthen the ongoing research partnership between IVI and AHRI and make progress toward their common vision: a world free of suffering from infectious diseases.”
On May 11, 2022, IVI and AHRI launched the first round of a mass vaccination campaign to provide 100,000 residents of Ethiopia with oral cholera vaccine (OCV). This vaccination campaign is part of the Ethiopia Cholera Control and Prevention (ECCP) project, supported by LG Electronics and Korea Support Committee to IVI, to protect people living in Ethiopia’s cholera-endemic hotspot areas. This joint project aims to contribute to the evidence-based public health policies in Ethiopia and work towards the ‘Ending Cholera – A Global Roadmap to 2030.’
Dr. Se Eun Park, Principal Investigator of ECCP and AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center Initiative Lead, IVI and Adjunct Professor, Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health, said: “This collaboration underway with AHRI is an excellent example of the joint research and sustainable development projects that will be further made possible by the AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center. In addition to the ECCP project, IVI and AHRI’s joint research collaborations in the past years also include the Shanchol OCV efficacy demonstration study and typhoid fever surveillance in Ethiopia. This Collaborating Center will reinforce our long-standing partnership and bring us forward to the expanded opportunities ahead.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 23 was moderated by Mr. Jonathan from AHRI and Dr. Se Eun Park from IVI, and featured remarks from:
- Afework Kassu, Director General, AHRI
- Jerome Kim, Director General, IVI
- E. Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
- E. Kang Seok-hee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Ethiopia
- Tesfaye Tadesse, Director for Asia Pacific Countries Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia
- Seunghwan Yang, LG Electronics Ethiopia Office Representative
- Sangchul Park, President, IVI Korea Support Committee
- Tore Godal, Special Adviser on Global Health, Ministry of Health and Care Services, Norway
- John D. Clemens, Senior Scientific Advisor, IVI
- Anh Wartel, Deputy Director General, IVI
- Se Eun Park, ECCP Principal Investigator, AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center Initiative Lead, IVI and Adjunct Professor, Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health
- Mekonnen Teferi, Director for Clinical Trials Directorate and Coordinator for AHRI-IVI Collaborating Center Initiative, AHRI
About the International Vaccine Institute
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).IVI has 39 signatory countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.
About Armauer Hansen Research Institute
The Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) was founded in 1970 through the initiative of the Norwegian and Swedish Save the Children organizations seconded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. AHRI was re-established by council of Ministers regulation No.376/2016 as an agency of the Federal Ministry of Health in 2016. It is a biomedical and clinical research institute with the mission to improve medical care, health, and well-being of the public by generating and delivering scientific evidence, developing new tools and methods as well as serving as a hub for technology transfer and capacity building in medical research and training.
AHRI received core funding support for its research activities from SIDA and NORAD. Particularly postgraduate research is funded from the core budget, but most other research are funded by competitive grants. The institute has a network of national and international collaborations in peer trial partnerships, reviewed grant projects, clinical capacity-building activities and in training of post graduate students. Please visit https://ahri.gov.et/.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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