The University of Tokyo contributes to Surya Kanta Kala-azar Research Center (SKKRC) in Mymensingh, Bangladesh

December 27, 2012

Date of activity: December 2, 2012

Visceral leishmaniasis (also known as kala-azar) is a life-threatening disease caused by a protozoan parasite carried by the sandfly and transmitted when it feeds on the blood of humans. There are approximately 500,000 new cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) per year. Ninety percent of these cases are from India and the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Nepal where the disease is endemic and has an enormous impact on social and economic activity, particularly affecting those in poverty. Cooperative action by governments in the area is necessary to eradicate VL, so the WHO is promoting early diagnosis and prompt treatment programs for VL. The WHO aims for 100% detection and treatment of VL by 2020.

As part of this effort, the Surya Kanta Kala-azar Research Center (SKKRC) in Mymensingh was formally inaugurated on Sunday, 2nd December, 2012 by the Honorable State Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Captain (Rtd) Dr. Mozibur Rahman Fakir, MP. SKKRC has been established through multi-sector collaboration between the Government of Bangladesh, DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative), icddr,b (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh) and the Japanese government program Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS: a collaboration between JICA and JST). In this process, a SATREPS Project operated by the University of Tokyo (advised by Eisei Noiri, MD, University of Tokyo Hospital, and expert Yoshitsugu Matsumoto, PhD, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences) has contributed to the development of research infrastructure with the assistance of icddr,b. Laboratory instruments have been advised, prepared, and provided by SATREPS. SATREPS will provide ongoing support as SKKRC carries out studies necessary to diagnose and control VL on the ground through application of Japanese technology.

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