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Tropical parasitic diseases are still an important epidemiological control problem due to the high level of worldwide morbidity and mortality. From the 11 priority diseases in the list of the Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) of the World Health Organization (WHO), 7 of them are parasitic. Apart from these, more than 400 additional parasitic species infect mankind all over the world, with terrifying survivals and intensities. Parasitic diseases have devastating indirect effects over the affected population, essentially children, producing physical and mental underdevelopment.

At the same time, the population movement and the high level of immigration constitute a real threat to public health in non-tropical countries. During the last years there has been a considerable increase of international migration flows which have made easier the interchange of diseases considered, up to now, exclusive from developing countries. Every day, our health professionals face diseases considered exotic or tropical years ago. The huge amount of Spanish travellers to tropical countries have also contributed to this emergency of tropical diseases.

There is an evident lack related to tropical diseases dealt with the new diagnosis methods, alternative medicine and homogeneous criteria in the patient's management, as well as the training of health professionals in Spain. Globalisation entails, among its positive aspects, a major level of solidarity that has made to internationally restart the concept of diseases linked to poverty. Thus, the WHO coordinates a Research on Tropical Diseases Programme since two decades. This programme is the core of priorities in this field. The European Union has had a series of specific programmes on health research in these diseases: the first was Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), followed by the International Cooperation (INCO) programme. Moreover, within the current Master Plan there are still R & D priority lines specifically directed to these diseases of parasitic origin.

The huge complexity of the parasitic diseases must be pointed out (reason by which none of them have ever been eradicated) and it is unavoidably precise of a complete multidisciplinary treatment and approximation of them. Apart from the large amount of functions the diseases' specialists develop in the tropical and subtropical countries, it is also in Europe where the necessities are highly numbered and diverse: (i) the existence of native parasitic diseases, (ii) the rising diseases, (iii) the problem of the immigrants coming from endemic countries, (iv) the travellers to developing countries, (v) the food import and the new culinary trends that transmit these diseases; (vi) the worldwide climate changes which allow diseases from other regions to get in the European continent; (vii) the analysis of surface water with parasitism of hydrological transmission; (viii) the international cooperation with developing countries, and (ix) the bioterrorism.

Once we check all the previous information, it is clear the increased interest of the parasitic diseases.And it is how the Ministry of Health has recognised it, by financing the functioning of the so-called RED DE INVESTIGACION DE CENTROS DE ENFERMEDADES TROPICALES (Tropical Disease Cooperative Research Network) – RICET – which, with the scientific objective of the “Enfermedades Tropicales: de la Genómica al Control” (Tropical Diseases: From Genomics to Control), holds, almost exclusively, the parasitic diseases. The RICET is constituted by several nodes (one of them with representatives of the UVEG) belonging to different Autonomous Communities. There is representation of hospitals from the Spanish National Health System in the Network, which act as sentinel or reference hospitals. The Valencian Community has a special interest in these issues, due to its status as one of the communities with more immigrants.

The academic relevance is supported by the UVEG doctorate's origin with quality certification “Parasitología Humana y Animal” (Human and Animal Parasitology), Resolution on 28 May, 2003, of the Universities General Direction in the doctorates of public and private universities without financial gain (BOE, 12 June, 2003) and of the Master's Degree in Worldwide Health Organisation (UVEG's own master's taught from 1987 to 2005) and of the international UVEG's official Master's Degree in Tropical Parasitic Diseases taught since 2005.