International health consortium secures £7.5m support

A consortium led by the University of Leeds has secured £7.5m from the UK Government to help improve the health and lives of millions of people in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The multi-million research contract has been awarded to COMDIS Health Systems Delivery (HSD), a research programme consortium led by the University of Leeds, to conduct high quality research in low-income countries. The work will contribute directly to the UK Government's priorities of eliminating world poverty and helping maintain progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The project will begin this month and will run for six years. It will be led from the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, part of the University's School of Medicine.

"We commend the UK Government through Department for International Development (DFID) for being one of the few organisations that recognizes the need for longer-term funding for research to help the poor people of the world." said COMDIS HSD Co-Director James Newell, Professor of International Public Health at the University of Leeds. "We are delighted that DFID has awarded our consortium this contract."

Following an international competition, the University of Leeds successfully secured the contract to lead a multi-region consortium of partners in conducting priority health research with the overarching aim of helping to eradicate poverty.

The COMDIS HSD consortium will conduct high quality research primarily in nine low-income countries - Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Nigeria.

"We conduct our research and health development together with government health services. As a result, the evidence of best practice influences national policy, and treatment guidelines are developed that are used to train health workers and improve care across the countries that we work," said Professor John Walley, Professor of International Public Health at the University of Leeds and Co-Director of the COMDIS HSD consortium.

Consortium partners include research and development non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as ASD Pakistan; international NGOs, such as Malaria Consortium which has a presence in Africa, Asia and the UK; and universities, such as Kumasi Ghana and Hong Kong China.

COMDIS HSD partners will work directly with national health services to benefit the poor and marginalized, especially women. The research will target underserved populations in rural areas, peri-urban slums and fragile states, and strategies for better health centre and community care. This will help poor people to provide for themselves and their families, and reduce their vulnerability to disease.

By improving  the quality, demand and the supply of health care for millions of poor people, the work of COMDIS-HSD will help to ensure that every pound of UK aid is spent appropriately and effectively.

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