The Project “Increasing Capacity to Achieve Millennium Development Goal # 6 in Honduras: Combating Infectious Diseases” is funded by the Teasdale-Corti Global Health Research Partnership Program of the Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI), a consortia of Canadian institutions interested in fostering international partnerships and collaboration in support of research and action in developing countries.
The project, awarded a grant valued at $1.5-million for the period 2007-2012, is one of the 14 Teasdale-Corti Team Grants which were selected following a stringent peer-review process among more than 250 proposals submitted in 2006 to the GHRI from across the globe.
Brock University is very proud to host this project, the first of this magnitude in the area of global health research. While collaborating with stakeholders in Honduras to help combat infectious diseases within the country, Brock will also gain valuable insight into the ever increasing threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases worldwide.
The Teasdale-Corti Team Grants support teams of Canadian and low and middle income country(LMIC) researchers and research users including policymakers, practitioners, civil society organizations and community leaders in the development and implementation of innovative multi-year programs that combine applied research, knowledge translation and capacity building to solve pressing health problems in LMICs. The Teasdale-Corti Team Grants currently support 14 programs of work that integrate research, capacity building and knowledge translation or linkage between research and policy and practiceObjectives of the Teasdale-Corti Team Grants
* Enable the creation or further development of South-North teams of researchers working with research users to address one or more of the eligible thematic areas;
* Enable teams to develop and implement integrated programs that combine capacity strengthening, knowledge generation and its application to improve the health of citizens, especially those most vulnerable, and strengthen health systems in low and middle-income countries;
* Enable teams and their host institutions to provide strong training and mentoring environments, build capacity and develop and implement strategies for knowledge translation;
* Establish a foundation from which teams, individuals and institutions can more effectively secure other research and development grants in order to address pressing health challenges of LMICs.
Infectious diseases place a tremendous burden on the health of Honduras but its national capacity to achieve Millennium Development Goal #6 by 2015 is seriously compromised. At the same time Honduras has the highest Central American rates for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, it is also affected by ancient infectious diseases including zoonoses that not only affect people’s health but also their livelihood. Furthermore, the potential for emerging problems such as avian influenza, bioterrorism, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as a result of globalization cannot be overlooked.
In Honduras (the third poorest country in Latin America), both poverty and inequality are crucial determinants for the occurrence and impact of infectious diseases and zoonoses but these diseases are in turn, a major obstacle to recovery and growth.
The Honduran government has recently recognized that strengthening partnerships and reaching consensus among the different stakeholders affected by infectious diseases is a national priority. Therefore, rather than focusing on one disease, the program aims to increase the critical mass of Honduran researchers prepared to work with infectious and zoonotic diseases, as well as advocate for and implement changes necessary to decrease the burden of infectious diseases including zoonoses in the country.
The Program’s main objective is the creation of a local (and potentially regional) graduate program at the Master’s level, open to a wide array of professionals, and functioning in collaboration with current programs in public health and epidemiology. The philosophy of the program is to address infectious diseases not only from a biomedical perspective, but also considering broader determinants of health, health behaviour change, and community participation. The program will provide a platform for integration and communication for skilled researchers, community, civil society, and policy makers thereby strengthening the potential for changes in practices and policies related to infectious diseases including zoonoses.
In Honduras, Researchers for Health are champions working with dynamism and dedication for the achievement of the Millennium Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Researchers and their institutions, as well as local and national authorities, recognize research as a key driver for national development and the welfare of Honduran people. They recognize that the response to infectious diseases threats requires an integrated approach to research and intervention. Accordingly, they support research that expands beyond biomedical factors and responds to the complex interactions between human health, health animal and the ecosystem, both locally and globally. Academic and governmental institutions prioritize and enable scientific work providing space and resources needed for its undertaking. As well, they encourage a collaborative research culture to maximize opportunities and enhance research potential.
In this favourable environment, researchers generate knowledge using the highest standards of quality and ethics. Their research work is innovative, transdisciplinary and relevant, and makes an important contribution to the health of prosperity of Honduras.
These Honduran investigators communicate their research at the local and international level and make sure that their research results encourage policy changes and the implementation of better practices aimed at preventing and controlling infectious diseases.
To contribute to the Vision, the Honduras-Canada Teasdale-Corti Project will work to create a sustainable environment for the advancement of research in Honduras. In particular, the project will advocate and support scientific research in the area of infectious and zoonotic diseases.
The project will support the creation of a Master of Science program in Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). Through this program the project will facilitate the establishment of a formal education and training system where a new cohort of professionals acquire the technical, administrative and leadership skills to conduct high quality research. Working in collaboration with other strategic partners, the Project will also work outside the Masters Program to strengthen scientific capacity and expertise in other Honduran investigators engaged in research for health.
The project will support and encourage a research culture where investigators from different disciplines work together in finding solutions to the infectious and zoonotic diseases problems of the country.
1 UNAH's Junta de Direccion Universitaria, JDU (Executive Steering Committee): JDU is the highest level of authority at UNAH; it is commissioned with strategic planning, organization, administrative oversight and monitoring.
2 The School of Microbiology: MEIZ's Academic Unit.
3 MEIZ students: A new cohort of professionals.
4 Thesis supervisors for MEIZ students: Essential to the success of MEIZ students.
5 Honduran Researchers in the area of Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases (at the School of Microbiology and other places): To expand the project's scope and enhance possibilities to contribute to the Vision.