GCRF Vector-borne disease control in Venezuela Network

Lead Research Organisation: Pontifical Catholic Uni of Ecuador
Department Name: School of Biological Sciences

Abstract

Over the last two decades, Venezuela has entered a deep socioeconomic and political crisis. Once recognised as a regional leader for public health and vector control, Venezuela's healthcare and health research infrastructure has fallen into a state of collapse, creating a severe humanitarian crisis and an unprecedented outbreak of vector-borne disease. The 'Global Challenges Research Fund Vector-borne disease control in Venezuela Network' (GCRF VeConVen Network) will support Venezuelan and regional vector-borne research, develop innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to addressing vector-borne disease control in challenging settings, and provide training for Venezuelan early career researchers to rebuild local research capacity. In the context of the current vector-borne disease emergency, high prevalence of infection, as well as the lack of adequate treatment, is negatively impacting health and welfare of communities especially in Venezuela, but also in Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador with knock-on effects for livelihoods and education. Cooperation among regional research scientists is vital to promote evidence-based interventions to deal with the current crisis. The GCRF VeConVen Network will create a forum to feed-forward and engage with regional health ministries, non-governmental and international bodies to improve health and welfare in these Official Development Assistance recipient countries.

Planned Impact

The Venezuelan economy is in free fall. State infrastructure is collapsing, especially in relation to healthcare. The exodus of Venezuelan citizens has included a significant proportion of qualified healthcare professionals and university researchers. The resultant 'brain drain' leaves the country with little recourse to address the current crisis, especially in the context of resurgent vector-borne disease transmission. The proposed network aims to directly address the current epidemics by promoting collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues in the context of regional vector-borne disease control.

There are multiple beneficiaries of the proposed network, which is tailored to deliver impact across many different levels.

COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY THE CURRENT CRISIS IN VENEZUELA AND NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES: Many Venezuelans, as well those communities in neighbouring countries impacted by 'spill-over' of current vector borne disease outbreaks, are currently living under an intolerable burden of vector-borne disease. A core goal of the proposed Network is to develop innovative and resilient community-led approaches to the surveillance and control of vector-borne disease in affected areas. Such approaches will be fed forward to regional actors (Ministries of Health, NGOs) with the ultimate aim of alleviating the burden of vector-borne disease. Novel approaches developed in the Network will also for the basis of research proposals to trial the impact of such interventions in affected areas.

VENEZUELAN SCIENTISTS AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS. The crisis in Venezuela has led to an exodus of healthcare specialists, including scientists with expertise in vector-borne disease. The proposed Network will provide a vital forum for collaboration between those scientists that remain working in Venezuela under extreme conditions, expatriate Venezuelan researchers and their regional colleagues in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, as well as the wider region. There is an urgent need to rebuild the scientific community in Venezuela. Via a series of workshops, this GCRF Network will provide training and networking opportunities for a new generation of Venezuelan scientists

POLICY-MAKERS, NON-GOVERNMENTAL AND GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS: A key component of the proposed network is engagement with stakeholders and regional actors to improve vector-borne disease control. We will undertake several rounds of outreach to regional Governmental Organisations and Governmental Organisations in the form of dedicated meetings in Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia. Organisations that have already expressed an interest include the Pan-American Heath Organisation (PAHO), the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the Colombian Ministry of Health, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, as well as NGOs currently active in Venezuela (Medicins sand Frontiers, Rotary Club, Caritas, Amigos del Hospital de Niños de Valencia). Other target organisations include WHO and the Venezuelan Ministry of Health. Individuals from these organisations with relevant operational roles will be invited to each of three meetings. Our aim is share research perspectives, surveillance data and discuss operational and research priorities to define knowledge gaps.

GENERAL PUBLIC AND PRESS MEDIA: The general public and press media have a major interest and stake in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and are thus beneficiaries of this project. The surge in vector-borne disease in the country is an integral part of the crisis. Our Network partners have already played an important role in communicating the extent of the crisis to the international media community. We will continue to do as part of this Network via coordinated press releases to accompany meetings and publications arising from the Network

Publications

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publication icon
Grillet ME (2021) Malaria in Southern Venezuela: The hottest hotspot in Latin America. in PLoS neglected tropical diseases

 
Description VeConVen, our research network, was founded to focus on discovering innovative approaches for vector-borne diseases surveillance and control in Venezuela and the surrounding region. As consequence, we applied to this award with objectives to help scientists and Healthcare professionals in the country with several workshops and meetings, research training, and grant writings.
Unfortunately, our activities were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic situation. As a result, It was necessary to change our objectives and focus on research training and online activities.

-Research training (Main key finding)
We support the training (on-site, online) to some staff of our network members´ labs. These activities involve new lab and research skills development, sharing experiences and knowledge between labs, and improving new connections.
Venezuelan researchers have developed low-cost methodologies to continue their labs/medical jobs because it is impossible to acquire new equipment and learn advanced techniques. Also, universities or private laboratories do not have enough budget to send their staff to international training. This is a consequence of the political and economic situation in the country in the last two decades. So, this kind of training has a high value for both involved laboratories and the next generation.
Finally, we support the Tropical Medicine Diploma/course´s field trip directed by one of our network members, Dr. Oscar Noya from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, to train until 30 students, all physicians front different health areas. Also, it was the perfect opportunity for the people (400 patients) from a rural community in Vargas, Venezuela to receive medical attention from the different specialty areas, and diagnosis to any member of the community. Also, they received several talks about the COVID situation and vector-borne diseases.

- Webinars
In 2019 and 2021 we shared several talks about vector-borne diseases status and control in Latin American countries (Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador). In both webinars, we invited external researchers from Argentina, the USA, and Europe (Netherland, UK, Belgium) with the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge. These webinars were open to both scientific and non-scientific communities. The 2021 webinar is available in our YouTube profile. Also, these activities were an excellent opportunity to recruit new members and find future collaborative initiatives.

-COVID outcomes
It is clear that the COVID research wasn´t part of our objectives, but it was necessary to understand this virus. In mid-2020, our Network earned two financial support (from the University of Glasgow and the UK´s embassy in Venezuela). As a result, we published several reports and papers about our findings, especially about the COVID situation in Colombia and Venezuela. Currently, we still working on publishing outcomes about the spatial behavior of the COVID transmission in the capital city of Venezuela, on a parish scale. Also, our members in Colombia still working on different COVID lineages and supporting the Colombian Health system sharing any relevant outcomes useful to control the transmission in the country.
Exploitation Route The Venezuelan economy is in free fall. State infrastructure is collapsing, especially in relation to healthcare. The exodus of Venezuelan citizens has included a significant proportion of qualified healthcare professionals and university researchers. The resultant 'brain drain' leaves the country with little recourse to address the current crisis, especially in the context of resurgent vector-borne disease transmission, as well as, the COVID pandemic.
Our outcomes help to educate a new generation of scientists and health professionals to aboard these or whatever similar situations in the country, as well as, introduce them to the international scientific community. On the other hand, all the papers published described the current public health situation in Venezuela and neighboring countries. It is a useful tool to communicate to the general public and press media what is going on in an empirical way, so governments, NGOs, and private institutions know how to aboard the problem. Also, makes the opportunity to aim for future funding.
Particularly, all trainings mentioned above have a long-term outcome, helping the community and improving the health service. Each laboratory that participates in these activities is focused on the patient´s attention, a chief aspect considering the socio-economic situation that the country is passing through, which causes a huge impact on those people without access to food, water, medicine, and/or health care.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description As we answer the COVID additional question, 2020 was catastrophic for our agenda. Nevertheless, we didn't stop doing science, and the reported outcomes are the evidence to prove it. At the beginning of 2021, once more we could show the world the impact of the socio-economic crisis in Venezuela on the public health system through the malaria incidence increase in the southern part of the country as a result of illegal gold-mining activities. In one month we have made a huge impact in both scientific and non-scientific communities, mainly on national and international media (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/22/venezuela-environment-mining-gold-maduro-destruction/), due to our findings have been the only link to the country reality to the Venezuelan citizen, and the rest of the world, especially those countries affected by the disease spill-over as Brazil and Colombia. In May 2021, one of our members, Dr. Juan Carlos Gabaldón, a Venezuelan medical researcher, share an article talking about Venezuela´s Malaria Epidemic situation and how is mandatory for international attention (https://www.isglobal.org/en/healthisglobal/-/custom-blog-portlet/la-epidemia-de-malaria-en-venezuela-requiere-mayor-atencion-internacional/5083982/13001). During the COVID pandemic situation, we joined with external partners to collaborate together to describe the real situation in Venezuela against the government's desire to release an institutional report with The Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences Academy (https://obras.acfiman.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Informe-2-COVID-19-1.pdf), with had a huge impact on social media, especially Twitter, for the accurate information, and the predictions made about the Covid transmission in following months. As consequence, this report was mentioned in many articles on social media and journalism websites (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02276-1). Unfortunately, it is complicated that the government takes this kind of information seriously, instead of taking it as a offends (https://www.efe.com/efe/america/politica/el-primer-reporte-cientifico-del-covid-19-en-venezuela-crea-cisma-con-chavismo/20000035-4246986), and for this reason, our members were anonymous in this report. Dr. Juan David Ramirez, our member in Colombia, and his team have been collaborating with the Colombian National Health Institute to report several COVID lineages found in the country (https://microreact.org/project/yVJAYPFZYC5DSuYXtgiqy) (https://www.elespectador.com/salud/variantes-de-sars-cov-2-y-tercera-ola-que-sabemos-y-que-consecuencias-supone-article/). Also, it is the researcher with more papers published last year about the COVID transmission in Colombia with a significant national and international impact.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Real-time PCR with a system for detecting pathogens that cause fever of intermediate duration in the Canary Islands, mainly those caused by Rickettsia species
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com/news
 
Description Vigilancia molecular de patógenos emergentes y enfermedades transmitidas por vectores en Venezuela
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com/news
 
Description New tools for indirect and in situ mapping of COVID-19 transmission in Venezuela and Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.
Amount £137,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2020 
End 07/2020
 
Description Latin American-VeConVen members 
Organisation Del Rosario University
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. The public health crisis on vector-borne diseases in Venezuela is rapidly becoming a regional crisis, with reports of spill-over into neighboring countries- particularly Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador. VeConVen works as a link between researchers from similar disciplines, to get a broad view, on a regional scale on how the Venezuelan migration in the last twenty years has impacted the public health system.
Collaborator Contribution From all institutions, we received a reciprocal answer and support to expand our knowledge on vector-borne diseases on a regional scale. Sharing epidemiology data, as knowledge were an important piece in the past. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our main activities were interrupted, but this 2021 we re-established a share of information as regards vector-borne diseases. Also, Del Rosario University was the host of our last meeting (Bogota, 2019), and offered their help in travel and accommodation issues for all VeConVen members. Finally, the Center for Research on Health in Latin America lead by Dr. Mario Grijalva, and the Pontificial Catholic University of Ecuador are the regional center for our GCRF VeConVen Network, to monitor the status of our activities and fundings management.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Latin American-VeConVen members 
Organisation Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)
Country Brazil 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. The public health crisis on vector-borne diseases in Venezuela is rapidly becoming a regional crisis, with reports of spill-over into neighboring countries- particularly Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador. VeConVen works as a link between researchers from similar disciplines, to get a broad view, on a regional scale on how the Venezuelan migration in the last twenty years has impacted the public health system.
Collaborator Contribution From all institutions, we received a reciprocal answer and support to expand our knowledge on vector-borne diseases on a regional scale. Sharing epidemiology data, as knowledge were an important piece in the past. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our main activities were interrupted, but this 2021 we re-established a share of information as regards vector-borne diseases. Also, Del Rosario University was the host of our last meeting (Bogota, 2019), and offered their help in travel and accommodation issues for all VeConVen members. Finally, the Center for Research on Health in Latin America lead by Dr. Mario Grijalva, and the Pontificial Catholic University of Ecuador are the regional center for our GCRF VeConVen Network, to monitor the status of our activities and fundings management.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Latin American-VeConVen members 
Organisation Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador
Country Ecuador 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. The public health crisis on vector-borne diseases in Venezuela is rapidly becoming a regional crisis, with reports of spill-over into neighboring countries- particularly Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador. VeConVen works as a link between researchers from similar disciplines, to get a broad view, on a regional scale on how the Venezuelan migration in the last twenty years has impacted the public health system.
Collaborator Contribution From all institutions, we received a reciprocal answer and support to expand our knowledge on vector-borne diseases on a regional scale. Sharing epidemiology data, as knowledge were an important piece in the past. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our main activities were interrupted, but this 2021 we re-established a share of information as regards vector-borne diseases. Also, Del Rosario University was the host of our last meeting (Bogota, 2019), and offered their help in travel and accommodation issues for all VeConVen members. Finally, the Center for Research on Health in Latin America lead by Dr. Mario Grijalva, and the Pontificial Catholic University of Ecuador are the regional center for our GCRF VeConVen Network, to monitor the status of our activities and fundings management.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK & USA -VeConVen members 
Organisation Baylor College of Medicine
Country United States 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution VeConVen has been the perfect vehicle to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues to support and advance regional VBD control. Our group has favored and promoted the research and collaboration of our members, expanding their network with more Latin American collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions mentioned above, apply in this section too. VeCoVen is a link between researchers from different institutions and countries, helping to share global knowledge in Vector-borne diseases. The result was several publications this year and the opportunity to listen to interdisciplinary talks about their work, in the Bogota meeting. Additionally, UK partners have contributed in finding new partners for the networks, as well as funding from different sources, and support Latin American members, mainly based in Venezuela, in any logistic issues related to the group as network and donations management, and/or laboratory material and medical supplies shipments.
Impact -10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science)
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK & USA -VeConVen members 
Organisation Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution VeConVen has been the perfect vehicle to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues to support and advance regional VBD control. Our group has favored and promoted the research and collaboration of our members, expanding their network with more Latin American collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions mentioned above, apply in this section too. VeCoVen is a link between researchers from different institutions and countries, helping to share global knowledge in Vector-borne diseases. The result was several publications this year and the opportunity to listen to interdisciplinary talks about their work, in the Bogota meeting. Additionally, UK partners have contributed in finding new partners for the networks, as well as funding from different sources, and support Latin American members, mainly based in Venezuela, in any logistic issues related to the group as network and donations management, and/or laboratory material and medical supplies shipments.
Impact -10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science)
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK & USA -VeConVen members 
Organisation London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution VeConVen has been the perfect vehicle to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues to support and advance regional VBD control. Our group has favored and promoted the research and collaboration of our members, expanding their network with more Latin American collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions mentioned above, apply in this section too. VeCoVen is a link between researchers from different institutions and countries, helping to share global knowledge in Vector-borne diseases. The result was several publications this year and the opportunity to listen to interdisciplinary talks about their work, in the Bogota meeting. Additionally, UK partners have contributed in finding new partners for the networks, as well as funding from different sources, and support Latin American members, mainly based in Venezuela, in any logistic issues related to the group as network and donations management, and/or laboratory material and medical supplies shipments.
Impact -10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science)
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK & USA -VeConVen members 
Organisation State of New York
Department New York State Department of Health
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution VeConVen has been the perfect vehicle to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues to support and advance regional VBD control. Our group has favored and promoted the research and collaboration of our members, expanding their network with more Latin American collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions mentioned above, apply in this section too. VeCoVen is a link between researchers from different institutions and countries, helping to share global knowledge in Vector-borne diseases. The result was several publications this year and the opportunity to listen to interdisciplinary talks about their work, in the Bogota meeting. Additionally, UK partners have contributed in finding new partners for the networks, as well as funding from different sources, and support Latin American members, mainly based in Venezuela, in any logistic issues related to the group as network and donations management, and/or laboratory material and medical supplies shipments.
Impact -10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science)
Start Year 2018
 
Description UK & USA -VeConVen members 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution VeConVen has been the perfect vehicle to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues to support and advance regional VBD control. Our group has favored and promoted the research and collaboration of our members, expanding their network with more Latin American collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions mentioned above, apply in this section too. VeCoVen is a link between researchers from different institutions and countries, helping to share global knowledge in Vector-borne diseases. The result was several publications this year and the opportunity to listen to interdisciplinary talks about their work, in the Bogota meeting. Additionally, UK partners have contributed in finding new partners for the networks, as well as funding from different sources, and support Latin American members, mainly based in Venezuela, in any logistic issues related to the group as network and donations management, and/or laboratory material and medical supplies shipments.
Impact -10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science)
Start Year 2018
 
Description Venezuelan-Veconven members 
Organisation Central University of Venezuela
Country Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. Our network was founded as a result of the seek help from Venezuelan professionals of foreign entities, to obtain financial resources and, thus, acquire materials and equipment to continue with clinical/laboratory activities, in a country where public health quality has been declining due to political and socioeconomic factors, causing both the migration of highly qualified professionals as well as the shortage of medical and laboratory instruments and equipment. Since 2018, we have worked together to bring them financial and logistic support to their activities.
Collaborator Contribution From the Central University of Venezuela, we work with four renamed researchers in the country who are specialized in ecology, epidemiology, and control of dipteran vectors (mosquito, kissing bugs) as well as vector-borne diseases surveillance and control. Professors Maria Grillet (mosquito entomology and control) with Dr. Jorge Moreno (malaria epidemiologist), Oscar Noya (clinician and leading expert on the treatment of malaria), Belkis de Noya (clinical Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment), and Hernan Carrasco (Chagas disease epidemiologist) share their expertise and knowledge resulting in several publications since VeConVen was founded. From the University of Carabobo, Prof. Adriana Tami (arbovirus epidemiologist) and her team are part of our integrated VBD surveillance and reporting working group. Her aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia is a health institution lead by Dr. Alberto Paniz, dedicated to promoting and encouraging national and international research, specifically in the field of infectious and zoonotic diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa such as Zika, Diphtheria, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, in conjunction with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of students, both health professionals and scientists. Venezuelan partners with Mario Grijalva (Ciseal-Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador) and Martin Llewellyn (University of Glasgow) are the VeConVen Network founders, sharing all their expertise and knowledge to embrace, with an interdisciplinary view, the public health crisis in Venezuela and Neighbouring countries, represented with the re-emergence of many vector-borne diseases. Therefore, our outcomes have resulted from this partnership, even those from COVID-19 small grant.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Venezuelan-Veconven members 
Organisation Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia
Country Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. Our network was founded as a result of the seek help from Venezuelan professionals of foreign entities, to obtain financial resources and, thus, acquire materials and equipment to continue with clinical/laboratory activities, in a country where public health quality has been declining due to political and socioeconomic factors, causing both the migration of highly qualified professionals as well as the shortage of medical and laboratory instruments and equipment. Since 2018, we have worked together to bring them financial and logistic support to their activities.
Collaborator Contribution From the Central University of Venezuela, we work with four renamed researchers in the country who are specialized in ecology, epidemiology, and control of dipteran vectors (mosquito, kissing bugs) as well as vector-borne diseases surveillance and control. Professors Maria Grillet (mosquito entomology and control) with Dr. Jorge Moreno (malaria epidemiologist), Oscar Noya (clinician and leading expert on the treatment of malaria), Belkis de Noya (clinical Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment), and Hernan Carrasco (Chagas disease epidemiologist) share their expertise and knowledge resulting in several publications since VeConVen was founded. From the University of Carabobo, Prof. Adriana Tami (arbovirus epidemiologist) and her team are part of our integrated VBD surveillance and reporting working group. Her aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia is a health institution lead by Dr. Alberto Paniz, dedicated to promoting and encouraging national and international research, specifically in the field of infectious and zoonotic diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa such as Zika, Diphtheria, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, in conjunction with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of students, both health professionals and scientists. Venezuelan partners with Mario Grijalva (Ciseal-Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador) and Martin Llewellyn (University of Glasgow) are the VeConVen Network founders, sharing all their expertise and knowledge to embrace, with an interdisciplinary view, the public health crisis in Venezuela and Neighbouring countries, represented with the re-emergence of many vector-borne diseases. Therefore, our outcomes have resulted from this partnership, even those from COVID-19 small grant.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Venezuelan-Veconven members 
Organisation Institute of Tropical Medicine UCV
Country Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. Our network was founded as a result of the seek help from Venezuelan professionals of foreign entities, to obtain financial resources and, thus, acquire materials and equipment to continue with clinical/laboratory activities, in a country where public health quality has been declining due to political and socioeconomic factors, causing both the migration of highly qualified professionals as well as the shortage of medical and laboratory instruments and equipment. Since 2018, we have worked together to bring them financial and logistic support to their activities.
Collaborator Contribution From the Central University of Venezuela, we work with four renamed researchers in the country who are specialized in ecology, epidemiology, and control of dipteran vectors (mosquito, kissing bugs) as well as vector-borne diseases surveillance and control. Professors Maria Grillet (mosquito entomology and control) with Dr. Jorge Moreno (malaria epidemiologist), Oscar Noya (clinician and leading expert on the treatment of malaria), Belkis de Noya (clinical Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment), and Hernan Carrasco (Chagas disease epidemiologist) share their expertise and knowledge resulting in several publications since VeConVen was founded. From the University of Carabobo, Prof. Adriana Tami (arbovirus epidemiologist) and her team are part of our integrated VBD surveillance and reporting working group. Her aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia is a health institution lead by Dr. Alberto Paniz, dedicated to promoting and encouraging national and international research, specifically in the field of infectious and zoonotic diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa such as Zika, Diphtheria, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, in conjunction with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of students, both health professionals and scientists. Venezuelan partners with Mario Grijalva (Ciseal-Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador) and Martin Llewellyn (University of Glasgow) are the VeConVen Network founders, sharing all their expertise and knowledge to embrace, with an interdisciplinary view, the public health crisis in Venezuela and Neighbouring countries, represented with the re-emergence of many vector-borne diseases. Therefore, our outcomes have resulted from this partnership, even those from COVID-19 small grant.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Venezuelan-Veconven members 
Organisation Instituto de Altos Estudios “Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldon” (IAE)
Department Centro de Investigación Francesco Vitanza (CICFV)
Country Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. Our network was founded as a result of the seek help from Venezuelan professionals of foreign entities, to obtain financial resources and, thus, acquire materials and equipment to continue with clinical/laboratory activities, in a country where public health quality has been declining due to political and socioeconomic factors, causing both the migration of highly qualified professionals as well as the shortage of medical and laboratory instruments and equipment. Since 2018, we have worked together to bring them financial and logistic support to their activities.
Collaborator Contribution From the Central University of Venezuela, we work with four renamed researchers in the country who are specialized in ecology, epidemiology, and control of dipteran vectors (mosquito, kissing bugs) as well as vector-borne diseases surveillance and control. Professors Maria Grillet (mosquito entomology and control) with Dr. Jorge Moreno (malaria epidemiologist), Oscar Noya (clinician and leading expert on the treatment of malaria), Belkis de Noya (clinical Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment), and Hernan Carrasco (Chagas disease epidemiologist) share their expertise and knowledge resulting in several publications since VeConVen was founded. From the University of Carabobo, Prof. Adriana Tami (arbovirus epidemiologist) and her team are part of our integrated VBD surveillance and reporting working group. Her aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia is a health institution lead by Dr. Alberto Paniz, dedicated to promoting and encouraging national and international research, specifically in the field of infectious and zoonotic diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa such as Zika, Diphtheria, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, in conjunction with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of students, both health professionals and scientists. Venezuelan partners with Mario Grijalva (Ciseal-Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador) and Martin Llewellyn (University of Glasgow) are the VeConVen Network founders, sharing all their expertise and knowledge to embrace, with an interdisciplinary view, the public health crisis in Venezuela and Neighbouring countries, represented with the re-emergence of many vector-borne diseases. Therefore, our outcomes have resulted from this partnership, even those from COVID-19 small grant.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Venezuelan-Veconven members 
Organisation University of Carabobo
Country Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are a research group made up of several professionals, mostly from Venezuela, in the health area and research, focused mainly on the monitoring and control of vector-borne and infectious diseases of interest to public health. Our network was founded as a result of the seek help from Venezuelan professionals of foreign entities, to obtain financial resources and, thus, acquire materials and equipment to continue with clinical/laboratory activities, in a country where public health quality has been declining due to political and socioeconomic factors, causing both the migration of highly qualified professionals as well as the shortage of medical and laboratory instruments and equipment. Since 2018, we have worked together to bring them financial and logistic support to their activities.
Collaborator Contribution From the Central University of Venezuela, we work with four renamed researchers in the country who are specialized in ecology, epidemiology, and control of dipteran vectors (mosquito, kissing bugs) as well as vector-borne diseases surveillance and control. Professors Maria Grillet (mosquito entomology and control) with Dr. Jorge Moreno (malaria epidemiologist), Oscar Noya (clinician and leading expert on the treatment of malaria), Belkis de Noya (clinical Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis diagnosis and treatment), and Hernan Carrasco (Chagas disease epidemiologist) share their expertise and knowledge resulting in several publications since VeConVen was founded. From the University of Carabobo, Prof. Adriana Tami (arbovirus epidemiologist) and her team are part of our integrated VBD surveillance and reporting working group. Her aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia is a health institution lead by Dr. Alberto Paniz, dedicated to promoting and encouraging national and international research, specifically in the field of infectious and zoonotic diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or protozoa such as Zika, Diphtheria, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, in conjunction with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of students, both health professionals and scientists. Venezuelan partners with Mario Grijalva (Ciseal-Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador) and Martin Llewellyn (University of Glasgow) are the VeConVen Network founders, sharing all their expertise and knowledge to embrace, with an interdisciplinary view, the public health crisis in Venezuela and Neighbouring countries, represented with the re-emergence of many vector-borne diseases. Therefore, our outcomes have resulted from this partnership, even those from COVID-19 small grant.
Impact - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009170 - 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008211 - Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting (Multi-disciplinary: biology, ecology, epidemiology, medicine, and social science) COVID-19 outcome: -10.1101/2020.06.18.20134759 -10.1371/journal.pntd.0008686 -10.1002/jmv.26393 -10.1101/2020.07.09.20149856
Start Year 2018
 
Description Diploma in Tropical Medicine 2021. Field Internship report in Chichiriviche de la Costa, Venezuela 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The field activity is framed in the Programming of the Diploma of Tropical Medicine of the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine at the Central University of Venezuela in its Edition 2021. The Diploma is aimed at 25 participants, all medical doctors, most with a specialty in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases and thirteen (13) teachers from the different specialty areas who participated in this activity in order to address infectious diseases in the sector in situ.

Tropical Medicine is an integrating discipline of social and medical knowledge of man in context with his community and his natural environment wherever it develops. Most of our physicians confine themselves to the description of the infectious process of a particular patient. Tropical Medicine goes further investigating the community and family history, housing, eating habits, comorbidities and the study of external factors influencing the infectious pathology of the patient. As teachers in this area, we have the need to motivate to our young doctors an interest in man with infectious diseases of different origins and causes in a comprehensive way, in his environment interacting with everything around him and not as an isolated entity with a pathology. By disconnecting them from the hospital world and their daily care obligations, we have been able to sensitize specialized groups in the approach of Tropical Medicine. This knowledge makes them more assertive in the diagnosis and therapeutic management as well as in the epidemiological surveillance of the pathologies, essential in the tropical environment in our country.

Activities:
- Educational talks
- Infectiology consultation
- Pediatric consultation
- Cardiology consultation
- Chagas disease consultation
- Dermatology consultation
- Entomological sampling
- Trapping of chagas disease reservoirs
- Malacological sampling
- Stool evaluations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description HEALING VENEZUELA - Science Article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact It is a press release in Science magazine about the main activities of one of our member's labs called Incubadora Venezolana de la Ciencia. The press release includes the main impact of their activities in the country (Venezuela), and also a political and socioeconomically point of view on how tricky is doing science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.science.org/content/article/network-young-scientists-doctors-aims-rebuild-venezuelas-pub...
 
Description VeConVen Online Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted our ability to carry out network activities, especially in relation to travel, workshops and meetings planned. As a result, our program of activities has been moved online. The objectives of this symposium were, restart, refresh and re-invigorate VeConVen vector-borne disease research activities 'post'-COVID-19, learn from new partners and collaborators with fresh perspectives on VBD control solutions for Venezuela, and hear from research funders about priorities in the region. Our event was streaming via Youtube. In the live broadcast, all videos had a mean of 20 participants, but the views have increased over time (>100 at this moment, 03-28-2021).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igKSP3Pqbh8&list=PLUzhWZSPB1Yu5McCqY0t61HgJR10dN-F0
 
Description Vector Control in Venezuela Network Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Our kick-off meeting was celebrated in Bogotá, Colombia, with eighteen researchers from the United Kingdom, the US, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia. During a week, it included partner talks and workgroup break-out discussions to refine network objectives. Also, external researchers were invited to join as the network expands, including social science, health policy, and political science researchers (inter-disciplinary working groups). Finally, we had the participation of Dr. Mauricio Vera, a representative of the Colombian Ministry of Health who gave us an update of the efforts made by the Ministry to provide medical attention to Venezuelan migrants. This event was published on Twitter, and participants around the world could participate via webinars. Gender equality and diversity policy were established.

Furthermore, it was an opportunity to promote collaborative links between regional and international partners and their Venezuelan colleagues in the context of regional vector-borne disease control. These links will provide training and networking opportunities for the new generation of Venezuelan scientists recruited from early career researchers.

Additionally, we developed a website (https://www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com/), and a data management plan using applications like Dropbox, Tello, and Slack.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com/meeting-information
 
Description Website and social media (Twitter/Youtube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Since 2019 our website has been up and running, as well as our activity on Twitter (@veconven1). These platforms have been an excellent tool to promote the activities, work, and research from the network and our members or colleagues. We currently have more than 200 followers in the social network, resulting in a better reception of our publications, press releases, and especially donations of laboratory material and medical supplies for the Venezuelan members' laboratories, who continue doing science despite the socioeconomic problems occurring in the country.

In 2021, as a result of our online Symposium, we decided to sign in to a Youtube channel (VeConVen Network) to broadcast all the events. At this moment (one week later), we got 48 subscribers and a mean of 142 views between all symposium's videos.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com/