Tuberculosis (TB), including the multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant (XDR-TB) forms continues to be a global public health problem, escalated by the current growing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic. Associated with low socio-economic status, poor accessibility to care and weakness in health care systems, the majority of world TB burden comes from low and medium income countries (LMIC) of Asia, especially rural parts of China, India, and Southeast Asia. Inadequate human resources and inefficient services have delayed the control process. The Epidemiology Unit, Prince of Songkla University (EPI-PSU), a World Health Organization (WHO) identified research mentoring institute in Thailand and collaborating institutions proposes to establish a Global Infectious Disease Training Program (GID) targeted at TB in these Asian affected regions. EPI-PSU has been assisting centers in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, China and Nepal. The long-term objective of the proposed tuberculosis research training program is to develop research capacity of the partner institutes in LMICs, judged by improved qualification of their research staff who have been trained and returned to work and international publications out of the collaborative research in a 5-year period. This D71 grant will be used to plan the training program. Specific objectives are to identify the needs for and priority and feasibility of research and research training in potential research centers in Asian LMICs regarding tuberculosis, to achieve a plan for the international training program on tuberculosis for the region, and to set up a mechanism to ensure that the activities on research and research training will be executed in a right direction, with high productivity and efficiency and relevance to the needs so identified. To achieve the objectives, EPI-PSU will begin by choosing strategic partner institutes to work with and forming a network of TB researchers and research institutes in the region. The collaborating centers in this network will meet to present and discuss institute profiles, needs and priority areas of TB research training, mechanisms to ensure that the trainees will be working well during the training and after returning to home institutes. By the end of the 12-month period, target trainee institutions will have goals and objectives in relation to training, a uniform participant selection process, a list of potential research topics, training schedule and agenda, monitoring and evaluation plans, and prepared materials by the host.

Public Health Relevance

Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly airborne infectious disease. Thailand is an exception country where TB burden is high, yet the research capacity for TB control is relatively advanced. The Epidemiology Unit, Prince of Songkla University, and the Departments of Microbiology at Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital and of Faculty of Science are centers of excellence in epidemiology and health systems research and basic science research on TB. They have formed a team to submit a proposal concerning enhancing their capacity to develop research capacity in institutions of other low and medium income countries (LMIC) in Asia. Increase in research capacity would eventually improve efficiency of the disease control programs in those countries and in turn reduce the world TB burden.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Planning Grant (D71)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ICP2-B (50))
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Sina, Barbara J
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Prince of Songkla University
Hat Yai, Songkhla
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