New initiative will assess disease control priorities in developing countries

September 03, 2002

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington -- The Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) is a new three-year effort launched today to assess disease control priorities and produce science-based analyses and resource materials to inform health policymaking in developing countries. The DCPP is a joint project of the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and The World Bank. It is funded by a $3.5 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"This project pushes disease-control studies into the 21st century by bringing scientific, demographic, and epidemiological advancements to bear on disease-control research and strategies in developing countries," said Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., FIC Director. "The DCPP will collaborate with partners around the world to generate information for national and international policymakers as they determine their health strategies and investments."

"For prevention and treatment programs to work, policymakers must have access to the best possible research and analysis to ensure that their health investments save as many lives as possible," said Sally Stansfield, M.D., Acting Director of Infectious Disease and Vaccines Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The DCPP's work will lead to highly effective, affordable health solutions that can be emulated in countries around the world."

The DCPP will help developing countries establish health priorities and cost-effective health interventions based on careful analysis of the cost of disease burden and the cost of treatment and prevention. The demographic, epidemiologic, and economic information produced by DCPP will be shared through its new products, events, and tools including:
"This project will assist developing-country leaders as they systematically examine their own country's health conditions, including endemic and epidemic diseases, and initiate well-reasoned, cost-effective actions to decrease the toll of those diseases," said Dean Jamison, Ph.D., DCPP senior editor.
About DCPP

In 1993, The World Bank published the first edition of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries with contributions from WHO, developing- and developed-world scholars, practitioners, and public health specialists. The volume examined the priority of 25 conditions based on their public health significance and the cost-effectiveness of preventive and patient management interventions in low- and middle-income developing counties. It was a companion document to The World Bank's 1993 World Development Report Investing in Health. The combined impact of the two publications was to stimulate national and international debate on health-sector investments, and to catalyze extensive work on the estimation of the disease burden and the cost-effectiveness of specific health interventions. Both documents have become reference works used extensively by policymakers, international development agencies, and academic institutions. In 2005, the new DCPP will publish an expanded second edition of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.

In the past decade, conditions in many countries have changed; knowledge has been gained about effective healthcare interventions and strategies and about the role of households, communities, and health systems in improving health conditions. For example, mortality rates for children under age 5 continue to decline in most countries, but in some countries they are increasing due to the emergence of HIV/AIDS and the breakdown of the public health infrastructure. The global health picture has been transformed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and some regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, have also experienced an increase in tuberculosis and malaria. More is known today about the global disease burden brought about by tobacco, alcohol, psychiatric disorders, and injury, which account for an increasing proportion of deaths. In addition, recent advances in molecular genetics, immunology, informatics, and other areas of science and technology facilitate development of improved methods to prevent or reduce illness and disability. Yet health policies, both in developed and developing countries, are too often based on little data or evidence of questionable reliability, and lack careful analysis of the value to be derived from health investments.

The DCPP will take stock of lessons learned and the increasing knowledge base to develop recommendations applicable to current health conditions. It will also consider the potential for biomedical research to contribute to disease control and assess research allocations as part of national and international priority setting.

The DCPP secretariat will be located at FIC, on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The DCPP will be guided by an international advisory committee, and day-to-day operation will be overseen by a board of editors consisting of the following members: Sir George Alleyne, M.D., Pan-American Health Organization; Joel G. Breman, M.D., D.T.P.H., FIC; Mariam Claeson, M.D., M.P.H., The World Bank; David Evans, Ph.D., WHO; Dean Jamison, Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles; Prabhat Jha, M.D., D. Phil., University of Toronto; Anthony Measham, M.D., Dr. Ph., The World Bank (retired); and Anne Mills, Ph.D., London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Oxford University Press will publish the second edition of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.

About The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. The Bank, which provided $17.3 billion in loans to its client countries in fiscal year 2001, is now working in more than 100 developing economies, bringing a mix of finance and ideas to improve living standards and eliminate the worst forms of poverty. For each of its clients, the Bank works with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to formulate assistance strategies.

About the World Health Organization

WHO is the United Nations specialized agency for health. Its objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined in WHO's Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately $24 billion.

About the Fogarty International Center

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. FIC will commemorate its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2003 with a year-long lecture series on global health issues and a scientific symposium on May 20-21, 2003. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On the Internet:
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World Health Organization,
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
Fogarty International Center,

NIH/Fogarty International Center

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