The Presidents and leadership teams of the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institute supported by ”la Caixa”, met in Barcelona last Friday, March 29, to review the results of the ongoing strategic collaboration between the two organisations and to discuss ways to strengthen their shared model of research, training and action.
The meeting, which was attended by Eusebio Macete and Antoni Plasència—the directors of CISM and ISGlobal—forms part of the joint commitment to regularly monitor the collaboration. These meetings also provide an opportunity to align the priorities of the common scientific agenda and to identify ways to improve coordination between the two research centres. One outcome was the decision to implement a code of good practice, which will be developed jointly and approved by both institutions. The participants also highlighted the success and achievements of joint training initiatives, including the Training Fellowship Program, which is currently training 29 young researchers in CISM.
Another important topic discussed at the meeting was the emergency situation in Mozambique caused by Cyclone Idai, which, according to the latest estimates, has led to over 500 deaths in the country. While the town of Manhiça, where CISM is located, was not directly affected by the cyclone, the CISM community is in shock and the centre has offered their services to the Mozambican Health Ministry in support of the national response to the crisis. ISGlobal has offered their support to the Spanish and Catalan aid agencies and directly to CISM. What both ISGlobal and CISM can offer in particular in an emergency of this kind is their capacity to contribute to the control of the outbreaks and epidemics of diseases, such as malaria and diarrheal diseases, that often arise in this type of emergency situation.
The long-term relationship between CISM and ISGlobal is the result of 24 years of collaboration guided by a shared model of research, training and interventions based on the principles of scientific excellence, innovation, knowledge transfer and training, which are mainly focused on health and equity. This model has not only benefited Mozambique and Spain, but also global health everywhere as the work has given rise to highly significant advances and achievements in several research areas, including the clinical development of the RTS,S malaria vaccine and the implementation of pneumonia and pneumococcus vaccines in Mozambique. Another important achievement has been the development of new strategies for malaria prevention during pregnancy, which have now been standardised worldwide as World Health Organisation recommendations.