17 May 2011 - Geneva - TDR, a programme for research and scientific collaboration on diseases of poverty based at the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO, has won the 2011 Gates Award for Global Health. The award was announced by the Global Health Council announced at a special ceremony in Geneva.
TDR supports and advocates for research and development to address diseases associated with poverty and works to build the capacity and leadership of researchers where these infectious diseases are widespread. It has helped reduce leprosy to the brink of elimination and dramatically reduced the scourge of river blindness (onchocerciasis), and continues its work in dengue, visceral leishmaniasis, tuberculosis, malaria and a host of other neglected diseases and research areas.
"TDR’s groundbreaking efforts to build the capacity of local researchers, to create partnerships to accelerate the development of new drugs and diagnostics for neglected diseases and to bring key interventions to people who need them most makes this organization a model recipient for the Gates Award," said Jeffrey L. Sturchio, president and CEO of the Global Health Council. "For nearly four decades, TDR has helped to reduce the burden of neglected diseases in a significant way and brought new hope to millions of the most vulnerable people."
Founded in 1975, TDR has built a global network through collaborations that connect scientists, researchers, nongovernmental organizations and other partners that include Nobel Prize winners who have donated their time and knowledge. TDR has trained and mentored thousands of researchers in developing countries, giving them the expertise to become local and world leaders in health research for the benefit of the poor and disadvantaged.
Ambassador John Lange from the Gates Foundation spoke about TDR's long and distinguished history. He said, "This year's winner has truly changed the landscape of global health. It has a long list of achievements, demonstrated innovative thinking and it has effectively used country empowerment strategies."
WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, speaking at the ceremony, said, "We greatly need research and development for innovative new tools. Ambitious targets have to be underpinned with research, and TDR's support has made a positive difference toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals."
"We were very heartened that several institutions in Africa and China nominated us," says Dr. Robert Ridley, TDR Director since 2004. "From its inception, TDR has brought researchers from different institutions in different countries together. We believe that sustainable progress in global health is possible through this type of collaboration."
TDR will receive $1 million as part of the award, which was established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to recognize organizations that have made outstanding contributions to improving health, especially in resource-poor settings. The winner was chosen by a jury of international health leaders from more than 150 nominations received from around the world. TDR now joins 10 other winners of the Gates Award, which is administered by the Global Health Council.
The Gates Award for Global Health is the world’s largest public health prize and will be presented June 16th in Washington, D.C., at the Global Health Council’s 38th Annual International Conference on Global Health. The conference will draw 2,000 participants from 60 countries.