The NEPAD-SANBio/BioFISA II team visited Mozambique on 22-26 January 2016 to introduce NEPAD-SANBio and the BioFISA II programme and learn more about the state of biosciences research in Mozambique. During the visit the team met stakeholders such as MCTESTP (Ministry of Science and Technology, High Education and Professional Training), IIAM (Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique), IIP (National Fisheries Research Institute), CB-UEM (Biotechnology Centre at the Eduardo Mondlane University), Quantum BioTechnologies Lda, INS (National Institute of Health), CISM (Manhica Malaria Research Centre) and PCTM (Maluana Science & Technology Park).
It was wonderful to find so many enthusiastic people in Mozambique highly invested in their causes as well as biosciences in general, including several bioentrepreneurs, one of whom we also interviewed. On the basis of the interview and all the meetings, Mozambique holds great potential when it comes to biosciences despite the challenges the country faces.
One certainly impressive institution especially worth mentioning is the Manhiça Health Research Centre (Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça, CISM), created in 1996 to promote and conduct biomedical research in priority health areas. Since its establishment, the Centre has been developing its activities under a bilateral cooperation programme between the Governments of Mozambique and Spain, and with the support of the Hospital Clínic / Universitat de Barcelona (through the Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica).
CISM has a young and dynamic team of researchers working in the labs, and has several strategic partnerships with other research centres. CISM relies on its personnel’s capacity to strengthen these strategic partnerships, to maintain a stimulating working atmosphere and to continue training future researchers; the centre also regularly hosts foreign researchers.
At the centre research is focused on diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other respiratory infections as well as diarrheal diseases. Work is also done in the field of maternal and reproductive health, environmental health issues as well as demography and social sciences. It is also worth noting that CISM also participated in the development of a malaria vaccine in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK) and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other research centres in Africa.
The work and projects done by CISM and the other stakeholders the team met with are very much in line with NEPAD-SANBio’s current focus areas and the Mozambiquan efforts are to be applauded in alleviating some of the key problems faced by the country and the region.