Monday, 6 May 2013

Want to help remove the Neglect from Neglected Tropical Diseases?

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) infect over a billion people, causing significant illness and death and limiting lives and livelihoods in poor countries. Yet, they have received far less attention than diseases like HIV and malaria and relatively little regarding research, control and treatment.

A particularly problematic subset of NTDs are neglected zoonotic diseases (NZDs) – endemic or (re)emerging diseases that afflict humans and animals, often transferred by vectors, and which present greater challenges for control and treatment. Despite their major impact on animal and human health, such diseases that are transferred between humans and animals are under-sourced in terms of health care provision, and scientific research, cultural, geographical and political aspects are poorly understood.

However, developing better control and treatment methods for these diseases has recently become a major health priority. Professors Sue Welburn and James Smith at the University of Edinburgh are leading on a cluster of research that seeks to better understand the interrelationships and contexts that shape many zoonotic diseases, as well as the role that science and technology plays in global health and African development.

To assist in these efforts, the Centre for African Studies is looking for three outstanding candidates to examine these crucial, yet neglected issues in the governance of human and animal health. These studentships are unusual in that they are highly multidisciplinary, drawing on both the social and biological sciences, and have the opportunity to make a strong impact on NZDs.

As Prof Smith further explains: “I hope that this cohort of studentships, in conjunction with existing University of Edinburgh research in the social and biological sciences can do two things. Firstly, lessen the ‘neglect’ in NZDs by helping us understand how to generate accessible sustainable technologies from new knowledge, and secondly, better understand the systems that drive the impacts of NZDs in order to improve that new knowledge.”

The deadline for application is 20 May 2013 and for further information, please visit the Centre for African Studies website.

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