TDR Bulletin on 42nd Session of Joint Coordinating Board

TDR news item
11 July 2019

The 42nd session of the TDR Joint Coordinating Board (JCB) was held in Geneva 24-26 June 2019. The meeting provided an opportunity to reflect back on TDR’s many achievements over the past year that demonstrate the impact of research to improve the health of people burdened by infectious diseases of poverty. An exciting new workplan to carry the programme strongly into the coming 2020-2021 biennium was also approved.

As TDR Special Programme Coordinator, WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan announced that TDR Director John Reeder will take on a second role as Director of WHO’s newly established Research for Health Department within the Science Division. JCB members welcomed and supported this new appointment, which provides an exciting opportunity for TDR to engage further with research partners and stakeholders. Dr Swaminathan provided reassurance that this will have no impact on TDR’s budget and workplan and that the roles will be synergistic but distinct.

JCB members were pleased to hear that collaboration with TDR’s co-sponsors – UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank, and WHO – as well as with fellow research entities of the WHO Science Division – HRP (the Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction) and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research – has increased substantively over the past year to jointly harness research to achieve Universal Health Coverage and the health-related SDGs.

Two TDR-affiliated fellows made well-received technical presentations that vividly showcased the impact of TDR’s support for research in low- and middle-income countries. Dr Muhammad Homayoon Manochehr of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health showed how the TDR postgraduate training scheme has allowed him to translate evidence to policy to improve health care access in remote areas of his country. A policy brief he developed has contributed to the expansion of clinics in underserved areas and inclusion of HIV, TB and malaria care, with the support of the Global Fund.

Professor Paul Gwakisa presented how his multi-sectoral research – involving the health, agriculture and environment sectors – is helping the Maasai people of Tanzania build resilience against sleeping sickness in the context of climate change. This has included the development of a smartphone app that maps the location of deadly tsetse flies, as well as policy dialogues with all key sectoral ministries in Tanzania in line with the National One Health Platform.

Dr Modest Mulenga with Professor Nkandu Luo, Zambia’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology
Dr Modest Mulenga with Professor Nkandu Luo, Zambia’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Finally, JCB Chair Dr Modest Mulenga announced he has concluded his term as Director of Zambia’s Tropical Diseases Research Centre. For his dedicated service to research and capacity building, he recently received an award from the National Health Research Authority for the best public health research institution in capacity strengthening for research in the country, presented by the Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, and another award from the National Science and Technology Council for the best public health research institution, awarded by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Professor Nkandu Luo.

We congratulate Dr Mulenga on these recognitions and wish to express our gratitude for his dedication to championing research on infectious diseases in low-income countries and TDR’s work. Dr Mulenga will continue to serve as JCB Chair through June 2020 alongside Dr Ning Xiao of China, who was elected Vice Chair for the next two years.


For more information, contact:
Makiko Kitamura
TDR Communications Officer
E-mail: kitamuram@who.int.