Tropical diseases: Research and training efforts at LIH’s Methodology and Statistics team
Dr Michel Vaillant, researcher in biostatistics at the Competence Centre for Methodology and Statistics (CCMS) of LIH is intensively involved in projects of the TDR, a special programme for research and training in tropical diseases.
TDR is hosted at the World Health Organisation (WHO). Its mission is to facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. Dr Vaillant recently accepted a new engagement for TDR. He will participate in the development of a data sharing platform for clinical trials for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis.
In a stakeholder-meeting held in September 2015, representatives of research institutions, control programmes and other organisations decided on the creation of a platform that would provide a safe environment in which to store data from schistosomiasis treatment trials. For this platform, standardised data capture, datasets and analytical tools should be used that allow consistent analyses and interpretation of results in the context of other studies. The data centre will encourage and ease the process of joint statistical analyses and discussions of methodology. Dr Vaillant ran the pilot pooled analyses with Prof Olliaro (WHO/TDR) and participated in the feasibility study of the platform. The platform will be promoted and steered by TDR and WHO, but further funding has to be raised to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
TDR also helps low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their capacity to conduct research. Thus, by the end of this year, 18 product development clinicians from 9 African countries have been awarded clinical research and development fellowships from TDR. The fellows will conduct a 12-month training in research institutions, universities or pharmaceutical companies. Three of them will join the CCMS in early 2016 to conduct their training under the supervision of Dr Vaillant: Eric Mgina from the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR, Tanzania), Moussa Djimde from the Malaria Research & Training Centre (MRTC, Mali) and Benjamin Sombie from the “Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme” (CNRFP, Burkina Faso). ‘I am looking forward to their arrival,’ says Dr Vaillant. ‘I already supervised trainees within the TDR capacity building programme in the past. It is a very enriching experience for both the trainees and the CCMS team.’
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