The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) was designated World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Malaria Control, Elimination and Eradication in March 2013, following years of fruitful collaboration among both institutions.
The designation was approved by WHO Director-General and falls within WHO's collaborating centre (CC) programme, designed to harness the expertise and capacities of leading research institutions to support its own activities.
The work plan agreed on by ISGlobal and WHO includes a range of activities related to malaria control, elimination and eradication, comprising research, organisation of scientific events, training, and coordination of activities among scientific institutions. The CC designation is initially valid for four years, after which it can be renewed.
The agreement envisages the provision of support to WHO in two key areas:
- advancing the science of malaria elimination and eradication in order to inform relevant WHO policies and guidelines
- supporting the writing up of WHO guidelines, handbooks and reports
As part of the work plan, ISGlobal has strengthened knowledge management functions within the context of the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) and coordinates the update of the R&D agenda for malaria eradication based on the outcomes of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) consultative process, published in 2011.
ISGlobal also generates scientific evidence related to malaria elimination through research activities including, among others, feasibility assessment, the design of innovative strategies to interrupt transmission and eliminate the reservoir in specific geographical areas, and the use of novel approaches to measure transmission
In the field of malaria control, ISGlobal supports global efforts to provide effective interventions against malaria in pregnancy by informing policy with the most up-to-date evidence, including data on Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). It also supports the production of WHO guidelines for the treatment of severe malaria and a comprehensive strategy on non-African malaria, specifically that caused by Plasmodium vivax. Finally, it is actively involved in the production of the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria Control and Elimination (2016-2025) currently being developed by WHO.
In December 2013, there were 12 WHO CCs working in the field of malaria worldwide. Of these, ISGlobal is the only centre whose key goals include the elimination of malaria.