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Five million euros for establishing the LMU Center of International Health

Munich, 06/09/2009

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) announced today the results of its competition “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation”. The DAAD and the Federal Ministry for Development promoted this competition in order to boost education cooperation with developing countries. Now, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and its partner universities will have five million euros at their disposal over the next five years for building up the LMU Center of International Health. The new Center will promote healthcare in developing countries by reinforcing education and research in the health sector. In focus are the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, in particular combating life-threatening diseases, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

LMU Munich’s Center of International Health is based upon three components. The first is to support universities and teaching establishments in developing countries on the creation and optimization of curricula, as well as the targeted training of academic staff. This will fall back on LMU Munich’s existing cooperation with, among others, Jimma University (JU) in Ethiopia and Danang University in Vietnam, and will establish a network of departments for the development of curricula and special training courses for healthcare professionals.

The second component concerns the establishment of “PhD International Health”, an interdisciplinary doctoral degree program to represent development research, basic research and clinical research. It is to reflect the entire spectrum of health sciences at LMU Munich. Furthermore, intensive cooperation with the “Global Health Governance” program of the Social Sciences Faculty is planned, which work is aimed strongly at developmental political issues. The doctoral degree program shall provide a setting for cooperation with developing countries, and give their professionals the opportunity for initial and continuing scientific training and an academic career.

The third component comprises training programs such as regional summer schools in Germany or in the developing countries, aimed primarily at experts and political decision-makers. The starting issue is occupational medicine. Despite the fact that up to 20 percent of the gross domestic product of a country can be lost each year simply though bad working conditions, occupational illnesses and work accidents decision-makers in developing countries frequently perceive occupational medicine as an unaffordable luxury. Among other things, the summer schools shall offer training and communication on all important aspects of it, and shall be open to public health specialists as well as to postgraduates from other fields. Further steps will then be to establish a regional diploma program in the field of occupational medicine in Latin America, and additional summer school programs to cover the issues of healthcare policy, epidemiology and the combat of infectious diseases.

The aim of “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation" is to reinforce German higher education establishments and partner schools in developing countries in the fields of teaching, research and services, as a means to achieving political goals such as the Millennium Development Goals and other global challenges. Furthermore, the engagement of German universities in the solution of global problems shall become a visible, driving force for German development cooperation. Alongside LMU Munich, funding will now be given to another four universities (TU Braunschweig, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Hohenheim University and Kassel University) that have proven skills in development cooperation in teaching and research, and which will be able to produce a coherent future concept on this basis with the involvement of their partners in the developing countries.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Löscher
Speaker for the LMU Center of International Health
Department of Infectious and Tropical Medicine
Tel.: 089 / 2180 – 3517

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