Challenges designing and implementing an emerging pharmaceutical infrastructure in Africa

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The presenter’s design of AIDSfreeAFRICA, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization, recently advanced into the semifinals of the Buckminster Fuller Design Challenge. Buckminster himself stated that “after decades of tracking world resources, innovations in science and technology, and human needs, Buckminster Fuller asserted that options exist to successfully surmount the crises of unprecedented scope and complexity facing all humanity”. He issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all. AIDSfreeAFRICA is grateful to be a part of this revolution. It took research – although not the traditional lab bench definition thereof – to find out what the challenges are and how to overcome them. A first hypothesis called for production of antiretroviral drugs and was soon disproved. Sinking mortality rates pointed towards success in making antiretrovirals available. However, infection rates did not follow that trend. The connection between HIV/AIDS infection rates and untreated STI’s (sexually transmitted infections other than HIV) emerged strengthening AIDSfreeAFRICA’s resolve to focus on production of essential generic drugs. What it takes to accomplish that goal is the focus of this presentation.