Disease Control and Elimination

Lead Research Organisation: London Sch of Hygiene and Trop Medicine

Abstract

The Disease Control and Elimination Theme’s focuses on the identification of the risk factors of diseases of public health importance in West Africa and on the evaluation of interventions able to decrease their burden. This is done by implementing large studies, often at community level, in which information on the possible integration of control interventions within the local health system and associated costs is also collected. Malaria, bacterial and viral infections represent a large proportion of our research portfolio. We focus on mothers, neonates and young children as they are the groups most at risk for these diseases. In addition, the Theme works on chronic liver disease due to hepatitis B infection, and on rheumatic heart disease. Both these diseases are observed in young adults and adolescents and represent an important but often neglected burden for the local population. The Theme works in close collaboration with the local health authorities and with the World Health Organization to promote the rapid translation of research findings into health policies.

Technical Summary

Disease Control and Elimination (DCE) scientific strategy focuses on investigating the interactions between hosts, pathogens and vectors; and evaluating interventions aimed at interrupting transmission and/or reducing the disease burden. Each component can inform the other and provide new opportunities for understanding the dynamics of transmission and identifying new targets for interventions. The multidisciplinary DCE approach comprises a large epidemiological component combined with strong laboratory support. This is complemented by social sciences (medical anthropology, health system research, health economics) investigating human factors influencing the epidemiology of the diseases, the uptake/coverage of interventions, and the effect of new interventions on the health system, including the intervention’s cost. Such information is collected with the aim of promptly translating research findings into practice.
Given the Theme’s aim of controlling and eliminating diseases of public health importance, its research activities target, besides the disease itself, asymptomatic or subclinical infections as these maintain pathogens’ transmission at community level. The research activities span from large epidemiological studies assessing the burden of disease to clinical trials, both individually or cluster randomized, testing or assessing the efficacy and/or effectiveness of new interventions, including diagnostic tools.
The Theme’s research portfolio includes diseases of public health importance in West Africa at different stages of control or elimination. Malaria represents a substantial proportion of such portfolio and focuses on understanding residual transmission, including the identification of transmission paths and parasite’s population structure by genomic analysis, and on the evaluation of interventions with the potential of reducing or interrupting it. In addition, the Theme works extensively on maternal and neonatal health, e.g. neonatal sepsis and mortality, antimicrobial resistance, invasive bacterial diseases, diarrhoeal diseases, e.g. rotavirus, and chronic diseases related to infections, e.g. chronic liver disease, rheumatic heart disease. The Theme has established strong collaborative links with other West African research institutions with whom both research and capacity building activities are carried out.

Publications

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