World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director visits James Cook University collaborating centres in Cairns

Today, for the first time, WHO Regional Director visits the two WHO Collaborating Centres based at JCU Cairns: WHO Collaborating Centre for the Control of Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil-transmitted Helminths and other Neglected Tropical Diseases and WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Education and Research Capacity Building.


Dr Shin Young-soo took up the position of the World Health Organization's Regional Director for the Western Pacific on 1 February 2009. The Western Pacific Region, one of the six regions of the World Health Organization, is home to approximately 1.8 billion people, more than one-fourth of the world's population. It stretches over a vast area, from China in the north and west, to New Zealand in the south, and French Polynesia in the east. The Office is based in Manilla.


Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA) researchers Dr Patricia Graves and Professor Kim Usher at James Cook University (JCU) will meet with Dr Shin Young-soo and tour facilities for both Collaborating Centres.


The WHO Collaborating Centre for the Control of Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil-transmitted Helminths and other Neglected Tropical Diseases was redesignated in June 2012 with Dr Patricia Graves as Director, based at James Cook University in Cairns, and aims to revitalise control programs in the region, in order to meet the goal of global elimination by 2020.


"Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil transmitted helminths are a severe burden in our local region, causing poor growth in children and can lead to life long disability (elephantiasis of limbs and enlarged genitals) in adults", said Dr Patricia Graves.


"The centre will support the countries and territories of Western Pacific Region in their national programs for lymphatic filariasis elimination, and control of soil transmitted worms and other neglected tropical diseases including dengue.

Previously based in Townsville, the focus has now moved to Cairns with establishment of a new diagnostic laboratory and enhanced capacity to support and map filariasis surveys in PNG and other Pacific countries", Dr Graves said.


"The centre will support LF control programs in all aspects including quantifying how much disease is present using the latest diagnostic tests, monitoring and evaluation of control programs using annual doses of deworming tablets as well as mosquito control, integrated control of multiple worm diseases using the same donated drugs, disability prevention and mitigation, and certification of elimination of this terrible disease affecting our region of the world", Dr Graves said.


Kim Usher, Professor of Nursing and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for  Nursing and Midwifery  Education and Research Capacity Building said the Centre would serve as one of the core research leaders for the Asia-Pacific Emergency Disaster Nursing Network.


"This Centre will be a focal point for research that will make a real difference to our region's health, particularly in key areas like disaster response", Prof Usher said.


For more biographical information about the WHO Regional Director:


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