- Today in Papua New Guinea (PNG) infectious diseases impose a significant impact on public health. Malaria and pneumococcal pneumonia rank among the top 3 causes of out-patient visits to health centers, hospital admissions and death. Support for assistance to control and reduce the burden of infectious diseases has come through programs purchasing resources (e.g. anti-microbial drugs, insecticide-treated bednets, vaccines). However, gaps identified through experiences of the 2005- 2010 Case-PNG Global Infectious Disease Research Training Program (GIDRTP) make clear that the PNG National Department of Health, the University of PNG and the PNG Institute of Medical Research still lack important human resources needed to conduct and sustain scientific research that will evaluate whether donated resources have been used effectively. Specifically, there are no professional PNG biostatisticians or epidemiologists at the National Department of Health, UPNG (includes the School of Medicine), or PNGIMR. Also, it is not currently possible to initiate graduate level programs in entomology in PNG because there are no professional PNG entomologists. Progress toward addressing these gaps has been accomplished during 2005-2010 Case-PNG GIDRTP. A cadre of 23 Bachelor of Science (BSc) honors students will have graduated from the University of PNG by April 2011;18 have already completed all of their requirements. Evidence that these graduates are eager to advance their careers in infectious disease research has been demonstrated as 8 of these BSc honors graduates have secured funding to pursue Masters Degrees in Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States. Two have been awarded prestigious Fulbright International Scholar awards, and are enrolled in Masters Degree programs at Case Western Reserve University. This Case-PNG GIDRTP renewal proposal seeks to continue progress toward closing the important gaps that limit (a) instruction in math and science, (b) application of skills required for data management and analysis, and (c) development of infectious disease research expertise.
Specific Aims to address these gaps are as follows.
Aim 1 -Sustain and expand ID research training opportunities for PNG undergraduate honors students to maintain the established 'feeder'program that is now preparing students for graduate degree work in ID research.
Aim 2 -Advance ID research training opportunities for PNG students through Masters Degree programs in Public Health and Biology (CWRU) and Entomology (Michigan State University).
Aim 3 -Provide opportunities for PNG trainees and faculty to communicate research findings through writing abstracts and manuscripts, developing posters and oral presentations.
Aim 4 -Prepare PNG scientists to become familiar with the process of writing and submitting grants to raise independent support for research projects and ID research programs.
- Infectious diseases impose a significant burden on the public health system in Papua New Guinea. Public health practice and scientific research on infectious diseases relevant to Papua New Guineans lags because of insufficient training and expertise in Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Entomology. This GIDRTP addresses these needs through linkage of the PNG Institute of Medical Research and academic partners with graduate degree programs at Case Western Reserve University and Michigan State University.
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