Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Appeal launched to step up research and development for neglected diseases

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1409

Rapid Response:

Hope for Change

We applaud the efforts of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
to change the global research agenda and we agree with those quoted that a
fundamental overhaul of the current system, strong international
leadership, and general access to scientific and medical knowledge are
keys to moving forward.

We are the Chair and Scientific Director and the Executive Director
of The Programme for Global Paediatric Research (“PGPR”), an international
union of paediatric scientists and societies, whose primary goal is to
increase research into diseases affecting children in developing regions.
PGPR brings together researchers from throughout the world for the
purposes of education, collaborative research, and ultimately the
maintenance of child health and the cure of childhood diseases.

In May, PGPR conducted a symposium and workshop on the global crisis
of birth asphyxia, which kills approximately one million children per year
and results in the disability of an untold additional number. The
symposium was held within the annual Pediatric Academic Societies’ Meeting
in Washington DC, the largest gathering of paediatric researchers in the

We were heartened at the number of symposium attendees (the 400
person capacity room overfilled and spilled out into the hallway five
minutes into the 8 am meeting) and the level of response to the issues at
hand. At the workshop, 80 top researchers from 27 countries met to begin
to work on drafting a statement of research needs, priorities and next
steps in the area of birth asphyxia. We are continuing to work on the
statement and hope that it will eventually serve as a road map to
governments, agencies, and individuals.

We believe that there are countless members of the research community
who, for myriad reasons, wish to change the global research agenda. They
may not always know how to do this, but their eagerness to respond to
direction is an indication that there is hope.

Alvin Zipursky, Chair & Scientific Director
Margaret Manley, Executive Director (,
The Programme for Global Paediatric Research,
The Hospital for Sick Children,
Toronto, Canada

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 June 2005
Alvin Zipursky
Chair & Scientific Director, The Programme for Global Paediatric Research
Margaret Manley
The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, M5G 1X8