7/12/2012 10:00:00 AM

The International Center for Vector-Borne Diseases gets a first-year review

A year after its creation, the founders of the International Center for Vector-Borne Diseases (ICVBD) met to review its performance and shape its future. The meeting, chaired by Saudi Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, brought together Saudi officials and representatives of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). It was held at the Center in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, which was established by the Saudi Ministry of Halth, the LSTM and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) in 2011 as a joint research center to increase the global ability to control major infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue.

With $5.5 million in seed funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Center’s mission is to improve health through cutting-edge research aimed at developing and delivering innovative ways of controlling, monitoring and evaluating insect-borne diseases that are a major threat in the Gulf region and around the world. Saudi Arabia plays a leading political and religious role in Middle East and Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the Center is therefore expected to have a substantial impact on maintaining health of both locals and pilgrims.

The Center’s activities and recommendations should have a positive impact on local authority decisions on vector control programs in Gulf Cooperation Countries, including Yemen , says Khalil Awad, Technical Service Manager, Bayer.

As arabnews.com reported, the Center made it possible for six Saudi doctors to be to sent to the LSTM for postgraduate studies in 2011. The meeting also signaled the start of research projects related to infectious and parasitic diseases, particularly malaria and dengue fever and reached an agreement on combining the services of experts on vector-borne and tropical diseases from the LSTM, Colorado State University, the University of California, Davis, and the South African Medical Research Council.