TDR activities to strengthen research capacity in the Region
The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. TDR is hosted at WHO headquarters in Geneva, and is sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and WHO. It supports implementation of research on infectious diseases of poverty that lead to improvements in health, strengthened research capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries, and implementation of strategies and solutions that respond to the health needs of these countries. It also supports translating research results into policy and improved health practices, and promotes the engagement of individuals and communities in using research evidence to reduce the disease burden in their respective countries.
TDR helps low- and middle- income countries to strengthen their capacity to conduct research and use research evidence in setting national policies and strategies. Several activities are being implemented in the Western Pacific Region, including the: Joint WPR/TDR Small Grants Scheme for Implementation Research in Infectious Diseases of Poverty; TDR IMPACT Grants programme; and the support of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippines, as a Regional Training Center for Good Heath Research Practices.
Joint WPR/TDR Small Grants Scheme for Implementation Research in Infectious Diseases of Poverty
The small grants scheme was launched by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and WHO in the Western Pacific Region (WPR) in 2006. The objectives of the scheme are to strengthen the research capacity of individuals and institutions; and to facilitate and strengthen the implementation of research for the control and elimination of infectious diseases of poverty, including research that addresses issues related to the culture and environment that contribute to these problems. A secondary objective is to provide mentorship, particularly to young researchers, in developing and writing research proposals.
The small grants scheme strongly encourages collaboration between research/academic institutions and infectious disease programmes of the ministries of health. Current priority diseases include malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases (particularly dengue, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, foodborne trematodiasis, schistosomiasis, echinococcosis, cysticercosis, leishmaniasis, yaws, trachoma and leprosy). Eighteen studies from six countries (China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Viet Nam) were funded from 2006 to 2011. Four studies were published in scientific journals. In the 2015 call for applications, 19 proposals from seven countries (Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Viet Nam) were selected.
TDR Impact Grants Programme
TDR launched the IMPACT Grants programme in 2013 to address specific research capacity or knowledge aspects in low- or middle-income countries. So far, five IMPACT grants have been awarded to five countries in the Western Pacific Region to carry out the following activities:
- setting up GetBetter – a collective sharing and learning system among health professionals towards quality healthcare in the Philippines
- monitoring and evaluation of case investigation and reactive case detection for malaria elimination in China
- developing mobile health technologies for enhanced malaria surveillance in Papua New Guinea
- addressing the principal roadblock to Plasmodium vivax elimination in the Solomon Islands
- determining burden, cost of disease and optimization of clinical practice of human cystic echinococcosis in Mongolia.
TDR Regional Training Center
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the research arm of the Department of Health, the Philippines, has been a WHO/TDR Regional Training Centre for Good Heath Research Practices since 2010. The overall objective of the centre is to build capacity in good health research practices in the Western Pacific Region by developing and assisting in the delivery of short courses. The centre offers new and updated courses on good clinical practices, scientific manuscript writing, research proposal writing, good clinical laboratory practices, biosafety and effective project planning and evaluation. A curriculum for research ethics course is under development.