Tropical Diseases Research Centre - Zambia
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Tropical Diseases Research Centre - Zambia
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) is a biomedical research Centre established
by the World Health Assembly in 1977. It is located in Ndola, Zambia.
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) was initiated
by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration
with the Zambian Government. This was in response to
a resolution of the World Health Assembly of 1974 which
called for the intensification of research into tropical
diseases and stipulated that, as far as possible, the
work should be done in developing countries where these
diseases are endemic.
The Zambian Government generously offered space at Ndola
Central Hospi- tal to accommodate the Centre. In January
1981, the TDRC became a Na- tional Institution for
research, training, and service in diseases of public
health importance in Zambia. To this effect, the TDRC
must be seen first and foremost as a national resource
dedicated to priority health problems in Zambia and
as a facility for training national and regional health
service personnel. It is a parastatal under the Minis-
try of Health with the mandate to conduct epidemiological
and clinical research.
Activities of the institute include epidemiological
and clinical re- search in malaria, schistosomiasis
African trypanosomiasis, HIV/AIDS, micronutrient deficiencies,
health systems research, health impact and evaluation,
training and service.
The Centre works closely with the Ministry of Health
in various areas such as disease outbreak investigation
and control, National AIDS Pre- vention and Control
Programme, Health Systems Research, Disease Sur- veillance
and Malaria Prevention and Control Programme.
The TDRC has 3 scientific departments namely: Public
Health, Clinical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences.
Department of Public Health
The Public Health Department has personnel qualified
in Epidemiology, Social Science, Demography, Public
Health, Information Technology and Statistics. The
department's mission is to understand the health prob-
lems of communities in urban and rural Zambia, and to
define means of controlling them given limited resources
devoted to preventive disease control programmes in
developing countries in general. To achieve this goal,
the department engages in both field and clinical research
with multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on the techniques
and perspectives of epidemiology, health systems research,
clinical medicine, medical sociology, medical anthropology,
nutrition and health economics.
The Clinical Sciences Department has well trained Physicians
and Nurs- ing Staff. The department's mission is to
conduct clinical trials of new chemotherapeutic agents
against malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and other
diseases of public health significance to Zambia and
the re- gion. In its expanded role, the department
will, in future, develop and test local herbs for treatment
of endemic diseases.
Department of Biomedical Sciences
The Biomedical Sciences Department has 7 units, namely:
- Vector Biology
- Clinical Chemistry.
Other than giving support to the epidemiology and clinical
pharmacology programmes, the department has started
conducting independent basic re- search to understand
further the biology of disease causing organisms. The
department provides support to and is a reference Centre
for the National AIDS Control and Prevention Programme.
It also evaluates all new diagnostic tools for tropical
Major achievements of the TDRC over the years include
the training of Zambian Scientists in research; the
design and implementation of a functional Primary Health
Care Programme to control malaria morbidity and mortality
in Isoka District; the design and implementation of
a surveillance system to control African trypanosomiasis
in Isoka Dis- trict, evaluation of new drugs for treatment
of malaria, schistosomia- sis and HIV infection and
defining the role of Vitamin A deficiency in childhood
blindness in the Luapula Valley.
Inspite of the budgetary constraints, the Government
of Zambia contin- ues to recognise the value of applied
research to support disease con- trol programmes. In
1996, annual allocation to the TDRC was about Kwacha
605 million compared to Kwacha 5 million in 1981.
Most of the research at the Centre is supported by competitive
grants from external donor agencies such as WHO, UNICEF,
Welcome Research Laboratory, (UK), the Irish Government,
USAID, WAF, etc. which in 1996 amounted to about Kwacha
The staff complement comprises about 65 indigenous professional
and technical staff supported by approximately 130
support and field per- sonnel. There is a deliberate
policy of recruiting nationals and prior- ity is given
to the training and retention of indigenous personnel.
In 1982, of the 12 Scientists working at Centre, only
4 were Zambians. In contrast, the Centre now has 28
Scientists all of whom are Zambians
Lastly, the future of the TDRC lies in its Staff Development
Programme. There is need for capacity building in the
area of Health Systems Re- search so that the role
of the Centre in capacity building in the area of Health
Systems supporting the on-going health sector reforms
and disease control programmes in Zambia is recognised.
The TDRC remains one of Africa's finest institutions
with internationally acclaimed reputation and capacity
mainly to conduct clinical trails in diseases of public
health importance in Zambia and the Region.
Tropical Diseases Research Centre
Subject: AFRO-NETS> Tropical Diseases Research Centre
- Zambia From: "Dr T. Y. Sukwa" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 04:27:15 -0500 (EST)