ISGlobal has been working in Latin America for more than a decade, collaborating with centres and leaders in different countries to find solutions for some of the health problems affecting the region. This week, an ISGlobal team led by the Director General, Antoni Plasència visited Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to sign a work plan with the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC-Fiocruz) and to participate in various events related to sustainable development.
International scientific collaboration
Two years ago, ISGlobal and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), one of the leading health science and technology institutions in Latin America, signed a joint cooperation agreement to promote health in the region. On 15 February, the Director of IOC-Fiocruz, Tania Araujo-Jorge, and the Director General of ISGlobal, Antoni Plasència, signed a work plan that strengthens the partnership between the two organisations. Accompanying the agreement, the Consul General of Spain in Rio de Janeiro, Ángel Vázquez, highlighted the importance of the alliance.
The document sets out objectives and expectations for the next two years in the areas of research, training and translation of infectious diseases of global relevance, such as Chagas disease, malaria, arboviruses, leishmaniasis and tuberculosis, as well as other relevant diseases linked to poverty. It also aims to improve approaches to epidemiological surveillance and studies on environmental health and the impact of climate change on health by structuring and co-funding thematic lines of research.
"Scientific cooperation is a fundamental element in protecting citizens, communities, society and the planet. We are doing it in a collaborative way to try to better understand some of the health problems that affect humanity and to work together to generate knowledge and new solutions," said the Director General of ISGlobal.
The director of IOC-Fiocruz said that "the work plan expands the opportunities for laboratories and researchers to work on issues of common interest”.
This initiative adds to the long-standing strategic alliances that ISGlobal has had for years in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia and Paraguay, but also in other countries in the region. It is also part of the PICTIS platform, the European hub of IOC-Fiocruz, which will make Ibero-American cooperation a reality.
Following the signing of the agreement, ISGlobal members visited some of the ICO's facilities, such as the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Entomological Surveillance of Diptera and Hemiptera and the Technology Platform for Electron Microscopy.
Sustainable development and health emergency preparedness
From 13 to 15 February, ISGlobal also participated in the 6th G-STIC Conference, a global meeting organised by Vito, Fiocruz and the SDSN network (of which ISGlobal is a member), among others. The event, held for the first time in the Americas, brought together experts in science, technology and innovation to discuss strategies to ensure a sustainable post-pandemic recovery based on equity, resilience and justice. During the event, participants endorsed a manifesto that recognises the commitment to accelerate the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the first day's plenary session on preparedness strategies for future health crises, the Director General of ISGlobal, Antoni Plasència, stated that "pandemic preparedness is fundamentally about building trust, especially among people, communities and their institutions, but we also need strong health systems to translate research, innovation and policy into effective action". The following day, Elizabet Diago-Navarro, researcher in ISGlobal's Preparedness Group, and Clara Marín, coordinator of ISGlobal's Analysis Area, discussed the role of cities in health emergency preparedness and response in an in-depth session.
Under the umbrella of the G-STIC conference and Fiocruz, the 4th edition of the Global Solutions Forum (GSF) was also held, moderated by Clara Marín. In this edition, representatives of national and regional SDSN networks from Canada, Mexico, South Africa, the Sahel and the Mediterranean shared their innovative and transformative solutions to sustainable development and health challenges.
During these days, the Fiocruz headquarters also hosted an informal consultation on climate and health, in which the Director General of ISGlobal participated, to exchange ideas and perspectives on how to advance actions in this field, to explore the possibility of creating a coordination group to follow up on this initiative, and facilitate the organisation of the International Conference on Climate and Health, to be held in Brazil in 2024.