A research and training collaboration project on TB, HIV and Respiratory Tract infections headed by Professor Alimuddin Zumla at University College London (UCL) won the International Collaboration of the Year award at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2013.
The project is aimed to find ways of applying new TB diagnostic technology in Tanzania and Zambia. The new testing method was able to discover many cases of TB previously undiagnosed because they were exhibiting as co-morbidity with various non-contagious diseases. It also proved to be able to detect types of TB that are drug-resistant. The project results are now guiding World Health Organisation policies on TB screening.
The research project is part of a wider TB testing network which connects twelve African institutions with eleven European universities. Aiming to dispel the tradition of medical research publications about Africa being led mainly by non-Africans, the project collaborates with the countries in question and provides training for African scientists.
A lack of reliable and quick diagnoses means that TB still results in 1.4 million deaths annually world-wide. This is in spite of the availability of cheap and effective treatment. Those judging the awards commented on the project stating: “The sheer persistence of those collaborating means that a faster, more reliable way of testing TB is now available – and it represents real hope for sufferers and those attempting to halt its spread.”
The panel of judges consisted of 14 executive and administrative individuals from various UK universities and educational organisations such as the UK Higher Education International Unit and the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education. Operating for the last nine years, the THE Awards seek to commend excellence in the field of Higher Education.