The World Health Organisation has officially designated Lancaster’s Centre for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics (CHICAS) as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Geostatistical methods for Neglected Tropical Disease Research.
CHICAS is a research and training group in Lancaster Medical School that operates at the intersection of biostatistics, epidemiology and health informatics.
With the designation, the WHO Collaborating Centre becomes a formal part of an international collaborative network carrying out activities in support of WHO’s programmes.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of conditions that are most common in impoverished populations in tropical and subtropical regions. These diseases most heavily affect people living without access to adequate sanitation, basic infrastructure and health services. In addition to significant morbidity and mortality, these diseases can lead to stigma and discrimination in communities. But these diseases can be effectively controlled, eliminated or eradicated through effective public health measures.
The Head of CHICAS, Dr Emanuele Giorgi said: “This is a milestone achievement for CHICAS and prestigious international recognition of the excellence of our research in geospatial statistics for global health. This has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the fantastic researchers in CHICAS, at all levels, from PhD students to professors. Our constant engagement with in-country public health officials and researchers to ensure that cutting statistical methodology can make an impact on policy, is bearing fruit. The designation as WHO Collaborating Centre will enable us to generate even more impact over the coming years.”
Anthony Solomon and Antonio Montressor from the WHO said: “We are delighted to welcome CHICAS as a WHO Collaborating Centre. The work being done here is crucial to help us all better understand the burden of NTDs and the impact of interventions, and we look forward to working with the whole CHICAS team to harness their exceptional expertise for the benefit of people living in NTD-endemic areas.”
CHICAS research focuses on statistical and epidemiological methods and their implementation in open-source software. Researchers have world class expertise in longitudinal, spatial and spatio-temporal methods, infectious disease modelling, statistical genetics and statistical methods for routinely collected health data.