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Fighting the battle against disease - Leeds researchers take on the world

Every year at least six million people die from TB, malaria or HIV. Leeds researchers will play a major role in the fight against the world's three biggest killers in a 5m programme spanning countries from China to Nepal and Bangladesh to Uganda.

The five-year project will help ensure that the best treatments reach those in most need as quickly as possible, and that effective healthcare systems are established to prevent the spread of disease.

"Our vision is to contribute at a global level to a better understanding of ways to combat communicable diseases," said Dr John Walley, co-director of COMDIS. Dr Walley and co-director Dr James Newell will work with research partners, national TB, AIDS and malaria programmes, patients, doctors and policy makers across Asia and Africa to develop practical and affordable improvements - or 'interventions' - to save lives from these devastating diseases. "An 'intervention' can both cure patients and prevent the spread of disease," said Dr Walley.

"Take for example, improving the way people take their TB medication. If they take it properly, they'll be cured and won't pass it on to other people. The intervention could be better communication, better education or improving the way health systems pick up and care for people with health problems."

Effective healthcare, with timely and high quality interventions, needs efficient and integrated healthcare systems. But in many overburdened countries these do not exist - the challenge for the Nuffield team is to design research leading to solutions that are practical in real-life situations. "Although solutions are out there for disease control, the major problem is being able to use these in ways that are responsive to patient needs, cost-effective and sustainable," said Dr Walley.

Co-directors at the Nuffield centreThe COMDIS programme will test ways to improve the quality and coverage of healthcare for the poor and vulnerable, which could include
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Contact: Hannah Love
h.e.b.love@leeds.ac.uk
44-113-343-4100
University of Leeds
1-Mar-2006


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