IAMP expresses support for Disease Control Priorities Project

Global medical network presents wide-ranging initiatives for improving public health worldwide

Beijing, China, 6 April. The InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), a global network of medical academies and medical divisions of academies of science and engineering, has officially endorsed the goals of the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP). The endorsement took place at the conclusion of IAMP's General Assembly in Beijing, China.

"The DCPP roadmap for improved global health," says Guy de Thé, honorary professor at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, and co-chair of the IAMP executive board, "charts a commonsense approach for addressing the critical public health issues the world now faces." These issues range from the global threat posed by such infectious diseases as HIV/AIDS and avian influenza to the rising number of automobile accidents taking place in cities across the developing world.

DCPP is a collaborative effort of the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the Population Reference Bureau. The project is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"While public health issues are often local and regional in nature," de Thé notes, "their impact can have global ramifications. Rising public concern over the potential risk posed by bird flu indicates that the world is increasingly aware that diseases over 'there' could soon become diseases over 'here'."

In a statement issued at the conclusion of its General Assembly, IAMP member academies unanimously agreed to lend their support to the DCPP's core strategies. Specifically, the members of IAMP agreed to help disseminate and communicate the findings of the reports and to encourage governmental officials to pursue – and fund – activities that will help achieve the DCPP goals.

"IAMP members," says David R. Challoner, foreign secretary of the US Institute of Medicine and outgoing IAMP co-chair, "were particularly impressed with two aspects of the DCPP. First, the project focused on health issues of critical importance to the developing world where both the risks and needs are most profound. Second, it proposed solutions that would not cost much money but that could save millions of lives – for example, distributing inexpensive drugs such as aspirin that could substantially reduce the rising incidence of heart attacks in developing countries or teaching mothers how to keep newborn children clean and warm, which could improve the health of babies during the first days of their lives. These are simple measures that carry lifetime benefits."

IAMP members also gave their unanimous support to a second statement outlining the organization's programmatic agenda for the next three years. They agreed to continue to support IAMP's Mother-Child Research Network, which was created in 2001, and to launch several new projects, including comprehensive studies of the high incidence of perinatal mortality and rheumatic fever in developing countries. The members also agreed to sponsor efforts to help young researchers, especially in the developing world, to improve their communication and writing skills, and to assess the effectiveness of existing medical networks with agendas that focus on emerging infectious diseases.

"IAMP," notes de Thé, "was created just six years ago. But we hope that our members' expertise and determination, together with the seriousness of the issues that we deal with, will enable us to have a significant impact on global public health in the years ahead."

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