TDR history: making a difference since 1974

"TDR uses the tools of scientific investigation to understand why good drugs, good diagnostic tests, and good preventive strategies fail to reach people in need. In other words, to find the barriers to access, including costs, in impoverished settings and break them down.”

Dr Margaret Chan
Former Director-General
World Health Organization

TDR’s rich legacy began with the agreement at the World Health Assembly in May, 1974 to set up the programme. Since then, TDR has provided the most vulnerable communities in the world with new prevention strategies, treatments and approaches. It has also significantly strengthened research capacity in those countries.


Provided research evidence to five major elimination campaigns for neglected diseases.

Been part of the development of 12 new drugs.

Helped to establish the effectiveness of insecticide-treated bednets and artemisinin combination therapy, now the mainstay of malaria control and treatment.

Identified social and gender barriers that impede access to treatment and care.

Provided evidence of the strength of communities in extending the health systems, starting with river blindness annual treatments, going on to diagnose and treat malaria, and to prevent dengue and Chagas disease transmission.

Trained thousands of researchers in just about every low- and middle-income country, many of the scientific leaders and policy-makers are former TDR grantees.


Special PLOS Collection on TDR 40 year history

In a special PLOS journal collection (January 2015), TDR former and current staff provide their views on key challenges and lessons learned during the 40 year history, and explain how and why the approaches and workplans changed through time. This includes the type of research supported, the way it was conducted and even the diseases covered. As the needs in the countries evolved, so too has the Programme.


TDR Global profiles

Read about the many people who are part of the TDR family – and who have made significant contributions over the years to their communities and countries.

TDR celebrates 40 years of commitments

May 2014
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