Review of TDR environment and agriculture report

TDR news item
5 February 2014

Authors of the 2013 TDR technical report on research priorities for the environment, agriculture and infectious diseases of poverty have published a review of lessons learned during the process of the report production. Published in the open access Infectious Diseases of Poverty journal, the article outlines the key goals and challenges to bring a more cross-disciplinary approach to identifying research priorities.

“Exploring interconnections between eco-social drivers and their relationship to infectious diseases required moving into unfamiliar analytic territory,” they write, “using an approach that can dilute the specificity of more conventional information about particular diseases and their main cause(s).” They understood the risk that the approach could meet resistance from the policy and research realms because of the perceived complexity of these problems.

They also discussed how drawing attention to the contributory role of the various drivers could challenge powerful interests, such as companies involved in large-scale agro-industry or the mining and combustion of fossil fuels.

The thematic reference group work was part of an overall TDR research priority setting exercise that included The global report for research on infectious diseases of poverty and 5 technical reports on specific diseases and themes.

Article authors are Anthony J McMichael, who was the Chair of the WHO/TDR Thematic Reference Group on Environment, Agriculture and Infectious Diseases of Poverty (TRG4); Colin Butler, who was a reference group member and main editor of the TRG4 report; and Bianca Brijnath, who provided research assistance in the report’s preparation.

For more information, contact:

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289
E-mail: guthj@who.int

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