Following years of fruitful collaboration, Swiss TPH is a designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Modelling, Monitoring and Training for Malaria Control and Elimination since 2017. “Swiss TPH is a highly respected academic institution in Switzerland, with a world-class reputation in global health research and action,” said Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “The institutes’ long-term expertise in malaria research, control and elimination will be highly valuable in supporting WHO’s capacity to implement its mandated work in the global push toward prevention and in the long term vision of a world free from malaria.” In March 2021, the designation has been extended for another period of 4 years until March 2025.
An Expert Hub for Malaria
Administered by the Health Interventions Unit of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, the Collaborating Centre, upon WHO’s request, provides technical advice that serves as strategic guidance for WHO policies. For example, Swiss TPH experts improve modelling methodologies aiming at malaria prevention. The agreement also aims to advance malaria control and elimination through the evaluation of routine data and effective implementation of surveillance-response as well as teaching and capacity building training methodologies.
The designation reflects the institute’s historic contribution, state-of-the-art expertise and commitment in the field toward ending malaria. The activities of the Collaborating Centre are focusing around the following three terms of references:
1. Modelling of malaria and intervention dynamics
WHO supports priority high burden high impact and elimination countries to implement subnational tailoring of interventions using local data to develop sound national strategic plans and optimized resource prioritization. Under WHO’s leadership and upon request by WHO, the Collaborating Centre is supporting in the stratification of countries using epidemiological, ecological, health system and other factors, and with modelling analysis to project the impact of interventions on various malaria endpoints. The modelling analysis of the preferred product characteristics for different use-case strategies of novel interventions will help inform the WHO decisions on the type of products needed in order to catalyze research and innovation. It also helps the policy making process especially in the analysis of epidemiological impact and economic assessments of new tools. Work primarily contributed by the Units Disease Modelling and Health Interventions.
2. Evaluation of routine data and effective implementation of surveillance-response
Case-based surveillance, investigation and response are integral to malaria elimination strategies. Under WHO’s leadership and upon request by WHO, the Collaborating Centre assesses the relevance and quality of indicators to be used for stratification and surveillance-response by applying and extending existing data quality assessment approaches. It evaluates the effective coverage of surveillance-response approaches in pre-elimination and elimination settings and validates the implementation of reactive focal interventions at sub-national scale with a focus on operational feasibility and effective clearance of infections. Furthermore, the Collaboration Centre models the effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) of different reactive focal interventions, if recommended by WHO, in a variety of eco-epidemiological settings to understand the relative importance of imported infections. Work primarily contributed by the Units Health Interventions and Disease Modelling.
3. Development of capacity building training activities on malaria epidemiology, control and elimination
The Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016– 2030 calls for, among others, strengthening the health workforce and malaria expert base. Under WHO’s leadership and upon request by WHO, the Collaborating Centre is developing tools to map training institutions and their activities in malaria endemic countries in malaria control and elimination and assesses the training needs at national and sub-national level. It provides technical inputs towards the development and implementation of the global strategy for human resource capacity development aiming at accelerating progress toward malaria elimination. Jointly with WHO and WHO Regional Offices, the Collaborating Centre will hold regional trainings in malaria control and elimination and establish a system for remote follow-up and mentoring. Work primarily contributed by the Unit Health Interventions.
The WHO Collaborating Centre is based
in the Unit Health Interventions,
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health,
The activities are supported by a coalition of funders, most notably The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Clinton Health Access Initiative, United States President's Malaria Initiative, Swiss National and Local Government.