Welcome to Tropical Diseases Research Centre
Tropical Diseases Research CentreTropical Diseases Research CentreTropical Diseases Research Centre
Tropical Diseases Research Centre, NTH Building, Nkana Road, Ndola

Historical Background

TDRC is a medical research and training institution set up in 1975 by WHO/TDR under  resolution number WHO 27.52 of the World Health Assembly, as one of three World  Regional Centres for research in tropical diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis,  trypanosomiasis, filariasis etc. The other two were set up in Thailand and Brazil.

The setting up of tropical diseases research centres in developing countries became  imperative for various especial reasons. Firstly, despite the continued affliction of  the indigenous people by the so called tropical diseases, research on these diseases  was being done in institutions in Europe mainly to serve the interests of foreign  missionaries, miners, sailors, soldiers and others. Secondly, the research was done to  prevent such diseases from spreading to Europe and other protected zones. Much of the research on medicines for malaria, for example, was done to serve military personnel  sent to conflict zones in tropical countries. For example, chloroquine which became a  famous malaria medicine at one time was discovered by the Germans as they prepared to  fight battles of the world wars in Africa and other tropical countries in Asia.  Following the world wars, research on medicines for tropical diseases was stepped up to  serve the foreign military personnel in conflict areas such as Vietnam.

Although some benefits from the research done in developed countries would trickle down  to indigenous people in tropical countries, it was considered inadequate to answer  specific research questions to formulate interventions to mitigate the suffering of  indigenous people. Tropical diseases such as malaria continued to exact a high  morbidity and death toll among indigenous people; therefore, there was a compelling  need for research to be done closer to the affected population and inform development  of appropriate interventions for those populations.

The need to establish research centres in the developing countries was promulgated by  the WHO following a World Health Assembly resolution 27.52.of 1975. This resolution was  passed to establish three regional centres for research and training on tropical  diseases in three different geographical regions of the developing world. Countries  with flourishing and stable governments were requested to host the centres. It was in  that regard that countries namely Brazil, Thailand and Zambia were selected. Zambia  then being a young developing nation had acknowledged the importance of research in  national development, and the need to train Zambians in research, thus embraced the  opportunity of hosting one of the research centres. Therefore, the government  volunteered to offer space at Ndola Central Hospital to accommodate a WHO research  Centre to benefit the region as well as the country. The WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and The  World Bank became the main sponsors of the research programmes in TDRC and continued to  support the centre through what was known as the WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and The World Bank  Special Programme for Research and Training (simply known as TDR), until it was handed  over to the Zambian government and became a statutory board under the MOH in 1981.  Thus, the TDRC was named after the WHO special programme (TDR) that supported TDRC at  its inception.