New ways to fight infectious diseases in poor countries

Report recommends the development of a new indicator and multidisciplinary approaches that include the environment, health systems and innovation

TDR news item
16 April 2012

Low and middle income countries would benefit from the establishment of a new indicator that uses the impact of disease as a measurement of social and economic development. That is one of numerous recommendations for a more multidisciplinary approach coming from a new report released today at a European Commission meeting. The Global Report on Research for Infectious Diseases of Poverty, published by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, offers new ways of improving public health in low and middle income countries through research.

“This is essential reading for policy-makers, funders and research leaders,” says Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization’s Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research.

Infectious diseases kill almost nine million people every year, many of them children under five, and they also cause enormous burdens through life-long disability. The report outlines the issues and challenges and calls attention to the need for multidisciplinary approaches, particularly in three themed chapters on the envi¬ronment, health systems, and innovation and technology. It also reviews the research funding landscape, examining the key challenges and identifying specific values for funding decisions.

Five high level actions are proposed to funders and policy-makers, which include

  • Create a new index of infectious diseases of poverty that would merge economic and health data to serve as a more accurate marker of national socioeconomic development.
  • Implement a “One Health, One World” strategy to foster essential multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approaches.
  • Promote research ownership by disease endemic countries.
  • Foster a culture of innovation within countries burdened by infectious diseases.
  • Create an online global platform on health research resources (financial and non-financial) that funders and policy-makers can use to develop their own priorities and strategies to support research on infectious

The goal of the report is to help improve current research prioritization processes, guide investment strategies and enhance commitment to using research to promote global health equity.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289