Strengthening international collaboration: Scottish Government commits £1 Million to vaccine research in Zambia

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The Scottish Government has recently committed £1 million towards vaccine research in Zambia, signifying its steadfast resolve to boost global health and foster international collaborations. The First Minister disclosed this landmark announcement following a meeting with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and a delegation from the Zambian Government at Panmure House, a significant venue that’s synonymous with Scottish economic thought.

Scotland and Zambia, nations boasting a history of mutual partnership across diverse sectors, now extend their collaboration to the pivotal domain of health. Facilitated by the University of Zambia, a newly established research facility will engage in life-saving research while also augmenting the availability of vaccines across Zambia.

This substantial commitment is an extension of the pre-existing Scottish Government support for the Blantyre-Blantyre partnership. This partnership bridges the University of Glasgow and Kamuzu University of Health Science in Malawi, fostering a unique tri-country scientific research collaboration involving Scotland, Malawi, and now Zambia.

The First Minister reflected on the lessons the Covid-19 pandemic has imparted, emphasising the critical need for cross-continental cooperation to confront global health issues. The Zambian and Malawian led initiative, with Scottish Government support, seeks not only to enhance health outcomes in the respective countries but also to generate research contributions of global significance.

The initiative aims to foster inclusion and boost capacity across Africa, a commitment made evident as the scheme trains female engineers to install solar power in the research laboratory, fostering sustainable development and fuelling the growth of Zambia’s economy.

The First Minister expressed gratitude at the opportunity to meet with President Hakainde Hichilema and his delegation in Edinburgh. He also underlined Scotland’s continued commitment to bolstering ties with Zambia and exploring areas of potential collaboration, including inclusive education, equality, and renewable energy.

President Hichilema, while acknowledging Scotland’s standing as a global leader in education and economics, noted, “We have always believed that education is the best investment a country can make.” He also welcomed the chance to rejuvenate the historic friendship between Zambia and Scotland.

Foysol Choudhury MSP for Lothian, who also met with the Zambian delegation, hailed the Scottish Government’s decision to fund a research laboratory in Zambia. Emphasising the historical ties between Scotland and Zambia, he asserted that it’s their collective responsibility to collaborate on key areas such as health and education. Following his meeting with President Hichilema, he expressed hope that this partnership will continue to thrive in the future.

The MSP pledged to keep a keen eye on the development of the research centre, expressing his hope that the Scottish Government will continually update stakeholders on the progress of this significant collaborative endeavour. As the partnership between Scotland and Zambia continues to evolve, it brings with it the promise of a future characterised by enhanced health outcomes, educational growth, and sustainable economic investment.

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