This training program's goal is to strengthen TB research capacity, especially human resources of TB research at LMIC collaborating centers, namely the National Tuberculosis Program of Myanmar; Department of Medical Research Upper and Lower Myanmar; Bureau of Tuberculosis of Thailand (BTB); and University of North Sumatra (USU), Andalas University of West Sumatra (UNAND), and Syiah Kuala University of Aceh (SKU), Indonesia. The training program will focus on multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), which is a major problem in the Southeast Asia region. This will eventually lead to better future control of TB and other global infectious diseases. The program objectives are to train researchers from collaborating centers (LMIC-Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand) to achieve MSc/PhD in Epidemiology at Prince of Songkla University, with a special focus on MDR-TB research, and to provide short course training in TB Epidemiology/Biostatistics and TB laboratory science to various researchers of the collaborating centers. The long-term training to produce 6 PhD and 6 MSc graduates will be based at the Epidemiology Unit, Prince of Songkla University (EPI-PSU), experienced in producing over 130 epidemiological Doctoral and Master researchers to Asia and Africa. This is incorporated with supplementary short-term training at the Departments of Microbiology at Siriraj Hospital and Faculty of Science of Mahidol University (MICRO-MU), and at a center of excellence for TB research and TB field observation at Zonal TB Center 12 Yala (ZTC12). In addition, short-term training will be conducted at EPI-PSU to train 19 researchers and at MICRO-MU to train 14 researchers. All trainees will be initially selected by the target institutes from Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand, and reviewed by a Training Advisory Group (TAG). The long-term training curriculum consists of one year coursework (shared by PhD and MSc programs) emphasizing Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Research Methodology, Responsible Conduct of Research, and data analysis. This is followed by data collection for research thesis related to MDR-TB (1 year for PhD and 6 months for MSc) at home institutes of the trainees. Finally, another year for the PhD and 6 months for the MSc trainees will be spent on data analysis and report writing at EPI-PSU. Apart from technical quality, arrangement has been made to ensure enough diversity of trainees, maximum retention and continuation of research career development after the training has been completed.
Within the tuberculosis (TB) endemic areas in southeast Asia, Prince of Songkla University and Mahidol University, Thailand, will provide a degree-granting and research training program related to the epidemiology of TB, especially multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), to build research and disease control capacity in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand. The Fogarty International Program support will allow the regional network of institutes to strengthen their capacity, especially on human resources for research. After five years of the program, there will be 45 researchers trained at Doctoral, Master, and short course levels from the three countries.
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