The Birth of the African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB)

It is well know that a lot of HIV biomedical research has been conducted on the African continent, mostly by groups of people and institutions from other parts of the world.Unfortunately, on the whole, communities have not been meaningfully involved in the entire process of research from research protocol development to dissemination of results and what these results mean for communities. Various researchers have put
together community advisory boards (CABs) in pursuance of their own interests and to simply abide by ethical standards in the countries in which research is being conducted. Due to the lack of meaningful engagement of communities, the community led African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB) was formally established in December 2013. Its members come from west, central, east and southern parts of sub‐Saharan African countries and I was happy to represent ITPC at this founding meeting.
Following an ITPC led World Community Advisory Board (WCAB) meeting held in Nairobi Kenya in 2011, African members present decided to establish an African led community driven advisory board that intends to engage with researchers and drug developers to ensure Africans in need of optimal HIV treatment get the best quality treatment similar to or better than what is enjoyed in the west. 
The AFROCAB, once established, kick started its activities with actions to support Nigerian activists voicing their concerns over a company called Tyonex Nigeria Ltd that was providing non‐WHO prequalified, substandard and suboptimal ARVs to people living with HIV in Nigeria using funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Health with disastrous consequences; one of the Nigerian activists is said to have most likely lost her life after using products from Tyonex. 
The AFROCAB mobilized African and international activists present at the recently concluded 2013 ICASA conference to pressure the Nigerian Government delegation to withdraw the Tynoex products from all programmes and to cancel the contract with Tyonex. Nigerian activists are making progress under the leadership of Obatunde Oladapo an AFROCAB member and one of the founding members of the ITPC West African Regional Advisory Committee. 
It is suspected that other West African countries like Ghana and the Gambia may be experiencing the same situation as Nigeria. Unscrupulous business entities are making deals with governments to provide substandard medicines at the expense of innocent people. ITPC and AFROCAB are committed to ensuring quality is not compromised and that Africans in need of quality treatment are indeed accessing the best efficacious, safe and affordable treatment. 
Bactrin Killingo
Senior Treatment Knowledge Officer ITPC
Co‐chair AFROCAB