News from TDR Director, John Reeder

New commitments from our funders and board

TDR news item
1 July 2013

What an amazing month June was for TDR. We were pleased to receive confirmation of a five year commitment from the United Kingdom’s government for financial support. In addition, our Joint Coordinating Board held its annual meeting to approve our budget and work plan. What was especially heartening was to hear members talk about our “remarkable turnaround” and to hear their enthusiasm for our work.

TDR Director John Reeder
WHO/TDR/Suder-Dayao

I’d like to bring attention to the importance of long-term funding and the value of the UK’s five year commitment to us. Some of TDR’s greatest impacts occurred only after a number of years of staying the course, rather than just working in short project cycles. For example, today more than 60 million Africans get an annual treatment to manage river blindness. This took years of research to test a drug for its effectiveness, and then more research to identify an effective distribution system to make sure it got to everyone, no matter how remote they were. Through steady, long-term commitments from our donors, TDR was able to support this enormous effort and provide the evidence needed. That strategy worked and has had an enormous impact.

Today, we have the same kind of opportunities to make a positive difference in people’s lives. We are now focused on expanding our research to identify system bottlenecks and ensure that more drugs and diagnostic tests get to those in need. This funding that the UK has provided really helps to put in place the needed long-term research. They found that no other single organization could deliver TDR’s full programme of work at this level, and called TDR unique in its ability to conduct high quality research, stakeholder engagement, capacity building, and research uptake activities within a single organization – providing good value for money.

Board approves budget and programme

The donor agreement was signed during our annual Joint Coordinating Board session, which was an unusually important one for us. This is the meeting of our highest governing body that reviews our budget and programme of work during the past year, and approves the programme for next year. They found our plans well focused and strongly outcome oriented, our finances in good shape, and our systems well established, applauding a “remarkable turnaround” for the organization.

Every year we publish a Results Report, which documents progress against our commitments. This is now available and will be the last report with this set of indicators. We have revised the measures to match the new strategy adopted last year and give even clearer indication of our progress and impact, in a new framework to be published later this year.

I’d like to bring attention to the importance of long-term funding and the value of the UK’s five year commitment to us.

Dr John Reeder, TDR Director

Operational training launched

I want to close by noting another major milestone – the launch of the SORT IT operational research training programme. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the coming years. In this issue, we’re showcasing the first workshop that was held recently in Estonia on the topic of multi-drug resistant TB and extremely-drug resistant TB, a serious issue in Eastern Europe and many other regions of the world. What is unique about this new training programme is that this is not research for researchers, but research for those already in policy-making bodies who can translate findings into action quickly. It’s a very promising model with lots of potential; you can find out more at the new web site that has videos from participants, a schedule of upcoming trainings and more information on how to use the model.

For more information, please contact

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +44 79 441 2289
E-mail:guthj@who.int

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