UCL institute named UK’s first WHO Collaborating Centre for Tuberculosis

tuberculosis
tuberculosis

The UCL Institute for Global Health has been designated as a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for TB Research and Innovation.

The centre, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will be used to facilitate research initiatives and collaborations with the WHO on tuberculosis (TB), TB-associated multimorbidity, pandemic preparedness, and vaccine development and readiness. It will also be supported by the UCL-TB network.

Becoming a Collaborating Centre provides the university with an opportunity to further share its unique expertise, methods, lessons learned and challenges with public health policy makers, beneficiaries and providers in member states in the WHO European Region.

The current priorities for the centre include scaling up TB preventative treatment for people at high risk, developing and strengthening capacity within TB programmes.

In order to do this, the Collaborating Centre aims to:

Implement research to scale up TB preventative treatment, including for contacts of people diagnosed with drug resistant TB

Country capacity building and human resource development on diagnostic research for TB national counterparts and TB communities

The designation will last four years until March 2027.

Director of the centre, Dr Lele Rangaka (UCL Institute for Global Health), said: "This landmark achievement is an incredible opportunity to accelerate UCL’s involvement in policy changing research in tuberculosis that benefits people in the region and globally.

"I am humbled by the honour to lead this initiative that will support WHO to increase the uptake of the latest WHO recommendations on TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care towards improved outcomes for people in the region and beyond."

WHO collaborating centres are institutions which are designated by the WHO Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organisation’s programmes.

Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centres in over 80 member states working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies.

The WHO states that the European Region is currently confronted with a number of challenges in reducing the burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis and the issue of TB/HIV coinfection, both of which continue to cause premature mortality in the region.

It highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected TB targets, due to service disruptions and barriers accessing care. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has triggered an escalating humanitarian crisis in the European Region that may have a serious impact on progress towards regional TB targets.

Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, Dean, UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences, said: "To accelerate progress towards reaching ambitious targets for TB elimination will require significant joint efforts from stakeholders including universities as key partners.

"UCL is proud to be a WHO partner and will use its position as a world-leading research institution to ensure the goals of the TB Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2023-2030 and the renewed WHO Director-General’s Flagship Initiative on TB are achieved.

"The urgency for immediate action is highlighted by ongoing challenges in TB care delivery, supply chains and other programme activities as a result of the pandemic and current humanitarian crises."

The hybrid launch of the WHO Collaborating Centre will be held on 16 June, 10:30 - 12:00 in the Maplethorpe Theatre, UCL School of Pharmacy.

Please register for in-person attendance via Eventbrite ( https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e­/ucl-who-t­b-collabor­ating-cent­re-launch-­tickets-62­2409191647 ).

To attend online, please register here - eurotb.net/ucl

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