The facets of TDR research from drug discovery to implementation

First meeting in the Americas region

Brazil’s leadership role

As the first JCB session to take place in the Americas, the Brazil meeting was an important milestone. It paid homage to the leadership role Brazil has played over the years in health research, as well as to the work undertaken by many research actors, institutions, and health policy makers, not only in Brazil but in the broader Americas region.

Dr Reinaldo Guimaraes, Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs of the Brazilian Health Ministry, discussed how Brazil had played a role in the TDR’s formation, participating in the meeting that created TDR’s governing body, the JCB, in 1978. “We are one of the countries that signed the original Memorandum of Understanding to establish TDR,” Guimaraes said, speaking on behalf of Brazil’s Minister of Health Dr José Gomes Temporão.

The past and present-day web of TDR activities in the Americas region was a topic in other JCB presentations. These underlined how TDR research played an instrumental role in developing the evidence base that formed the basis for Chagas disease elimination campaigns in the 1990s, as well as for initiatives in dengue, malaria, schistosomiasis, leprosy and other neglected diseases endemic to Latin America.

In addition to TDR’s many direct collaborations with national research institutions and researchers, TDR also has joint collaborations with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/WHO Regional Office for the Americas, noted Dr J Barbosa da Silva, the Area Manager of Health Surveillance and Disease Management for PAHO/AMRO. Those include:

  • A programme of implementation research on Chagas disease.
  • Small grant programme for researchers.
  • Short training courses, like the workshops for protocol development, scientific writing and policy briefs, basic and intermediate epidemiology, basic and intermediate health statistics, and strengthening of laboratory capacity.

Da Silva encouraged TDR to work closely with PAHO to assist with research priority setting in the Americas to address diseases targeted in WHO’s Global Plan to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2008-2015. The plan sets out goals and strategies for control and elimination of: vector transmission of Chagas disease, lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, malaria, onchocerciasis, plague, rabies, congenital rubella, congenital syphilis, tetanus, and trachoma as public health problems.