The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has won a major European contract to act as consultant to the Syrian Ministry of Health in modernising its health sector, beating off competition from all over the world.
The world-famous School will lead a consortium to establish a new academic centre for the training of health professionals in Syria, funded by a grant of €5 million from the European Community. The School and its consortium partners, ARCADIS BMB and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will set up a Centre for Strategic Health Studies (CSHS) in Damascus and help to develop it into a centre of excellence, playing a key role in the modernisation of Syria's health sector. The School and its partners will provide a team of academics to set up and initially run high quality training programmes for public health professionals and health managers up to Masters and PhD level.
Janet Hemingway, director, said: “This contract is a significant breakthrough for the School and marks the end of another very successful year for us as we move further towards our goal of becoming the world leader in tropical and international health services.
“Our new £23 million Centre for Tropical and Infectious Diseases is really taking shape and will be nearly ready to house our ever-increasing complement of staff by this time next year. The Centre will take the School up another level by providing world-class facilities for research into some of the world’s deadliest diseases.
“Work on two of the major research projects which will be partially housed in the new Centre, the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) and AntiMal, is well under way. The IVCC is developing new chemical and technological weapons to better control mosquitoes and other insects which transmit malaria, dengue and other diseases whilst AntiMal is working to develop affordable new drugs to combat malaria in developing countries. Malaria is still the largest single cause of death through infection in infants and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa, claiming at least one million lives every year, and we are determined to work ever harder to make a dent in these figures.
“These projects have been funded by multi-million pound grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission. We now have over £100 million in research grants and contracts on our books.
“Our consultancy arm, Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH), is a partner in a recently announced US-led $150 million insecticide spraying programme in Africa which will protect homes against mosquitoes, thereby helping to combat malaria. LATH is also involved in a new $100 million dollar programme in Africa to reduce the impact of neglected tropical diseases such as onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).
“During the year we helped to identify a new drug treatment for elephantiasis which leads to gross swelling of the legs and genital areas and causes great misery and social exclusion for its victims. The School also joined forces with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to open an international office here in Liverpool, the first product of which was to produce a life-saving skills manual for midwives and doctors in developing countries to better cope with emergencies around childbirth which needlessly claim thousands of lives every year.
“The School is in the midst of the most exciting period in its history and I am looking forward to announcing further developments and successes in attracting world class research projects and collaborations next year.”
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