Sixteen years ago, the Public Health Laboratory Ivo de Carneri (PHL-IdC) was established targeting its operation on communicable diseases with a special focus on neglected tropical disease (NTDs), particularly schistosomiasis and intestinal helminth infections. We have learnt a number of important lessons since that time. Behind every treatment, health policy, and clinical protocol breakthrough that we have today there is always a story.
The story begins with a patient and an unanswered question, often an observation that might lead to further research and a discovery that is translated into clinical practice.
There are, indeed many unanswered questions that research has yet to answer. For too many patients, treatment options are either not available or not accessible. To give us the best chance of providing patients with timely access to treatments and health services, we need to ensure that researchers and clinicians, are listening to the issues that the communities are facing and to the clinical trend, to give us clues and direction for guiding research and health service development. PHL-IdC first and foremost provides an operational research and monitoring platform for this to happen.
In the first five years of Working closely with the Ministry of Health and international partners, PHL-IdC focused on NTDs and the vision was to tackle parasitic diseases and other public health problems in Zanzibar and to provide broader evidence to support the development of strategies for control and elimination of tropical diseases. Since its inception, PHL-IdC has made some remarkable achievements, establishing Zanzibar as a pioneering location for developing global strategies for control of infectious diseases. Successful public health interventions, especially in the area of NTDs (soil transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis), led to the recognition of PHL-IdC as “WHO Collaborating Centre for Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Parasitic Infections” in 2005 and as “WHO Collaborating Centre for NTDs” in 2013.
The great strength of the Zanzibar, is its link between control and operational research, with great emphasis on capacity building. Moreover, the PHL-IdC has demonstrated to be a reliable and accountable partner in handling projects in an efficient and effective way.
Our Vision is that PHL-IdC from now be fully inclusive of the wide range of health based on One-Health vision for the community of Zanzibar to project sub-regional, regional and global influence.
Our Mission is to support and conduct innovative, world-renowned research, training and public health interventions in Zanzibar, with a focus on equity and sustainability.
Finally, our strong commitment will continue to be working with local, national, regional and international stakeholders and strengthen more and more the well-established research talent, resources and strong linkage with the community and health services that we have in Zanzibar.
Said Mohammed Ali