The Program for the Study and Control of Tropical Diseases – PECET-, started working in 1983, when professor Iván Darío Vélez Bernal returned to the country after being in France specializing in Parasitology and Tropical Medicine in the University of Montpellier, under the direction of Professor Jean Antoine Rioux.
On that year professor Vélez Bernal started developing the research project “Study of an area of cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the municipality of Montebello, Antioquia, Colombia” which allowed him to gather teachers and students from the University of Antioquia who were interested in the study of tropical diseases.
In 1986 it was consolidated as a research group, receiving the name of “Leishmaniosis Service”. In 1996 the name changes to the one currently in use: Program for Study and Control of Tropical Diseases (whose initials in Spanish form the acronym PECET).
Leishmaniosis was chosen as a disease model, being the one in which professor Vélez had most experience, thanks to the training received in South of Europe and North of Africa, and for being a disease where cases were just being reported in the majority of the departments of Colombia.
The presence of the three main clinical forms of the disease was known, and there few people were interested in it. On the other hand, it was an excellent parasitic model for having characteristics such as being both a disease found in both human and animals, transmitted by several species of phlebotomine vectors, caused by different species of parasites, having clinical polimorfisms and distributed in very diverse zones. This is the reason because of which the gathering of different disciplines is necessary for the accomplishment of ecoepidemiological studies in the areas of transmission.
The Program of Study and Control of Tropical Diseases – PECET – is recognized as a university group of interdisciplinary work oriented to the service of the Community in the activities of TEACHING, RESEARCH and EXTENSION in the field of the Tropical Medicine.
The Program of Study and Control of Tropical Diseases – PECET is a multidisciplinary group orientated to the development of strategies of prevention and control of Tropical diseases in Colombia, by means of activities of RESEARCH, TEACHING and EXTENSION.
In 2012 the Program of Study and Control of Tropical Diseases – PECET will be a Latin American Center of Reference for Ecoepidemiological Field Studies of diseases transmitted by vectors, entomological studies of vectors of leishmaniosis, malaria and dengue; for resistance evaluation of insecticides and medicine against leishmaniosis and malaria; for the identification and evaluation of medicine, surveillance and control of trematodiasis and the evaluation of vaccines against diseases transmitted by vectors, especially Leishmaniosis, Dengue, and Malaria. It will be a Latin American Training Center recognized by the WHO and with at least 2 patents fruit of the research developed by the group in the development of products (Medicines, vaccines or test diagnoses).
To be a consolidated research, teaching and extension center in the field of tropical diseases, and a national and international reference for the study and control of these diseases.
Stimulate, develop and strengthen multidisciplinary research in the field of Tropical Diseases, projecting the University of Antioquia at and international level, and with presence in all the regions of the country.
Design and evaluate programs for the control of tropical diseases directed to people and the community.
Offer the necessary conditions to ensure that undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers and researchers have the means to do their training, and their research works through collaborative exchange with universities and national and international centers of investigation.
PECET has defined a research strategy since 1986, when ecoepidemiology was adopted as the science that would lead the group’s multidisciplinary work.
We will continue working mainly on the development of both basic and applied research projects, in the field of tropical diseases, which will allow a holistic comprehension of the natural history of the disease, which they are multidisciplinary and are orientated to the search of rational and economic measures of prevention and control of these diseases.
We will seek to support and create new scientific international relations, with couples of many countries of the world that show excellence academic, for the formulation of joint projects of research.
We aim to continue the training of students, the exchange and the continued education of our researchers in the best investigation centers of the world.
We will increase the relations with international institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Special Program of Research in Tropical Diseases (TDR), continuing our participation in the Orientation Committees and developing activities specific to a reference centre, especially those related to the organization of international courses, continued training, transfer of technology to other countries, admonitory clinic, managing of clinical information, evaluation of medicine and vaccines and participation in the meetings of planning and continued education programmed by them.
We will seek to increase scientific liaisons and to provide advice to national organisms that may have issues concerning health, such as the Municipal and Departmental Health Services, the Department of Social Protection and to the companies that require of our services.
We will look for major international coverage of the group by means of publications in journals of impact and the participation in international scientific events where we will communicate the results of our studies.
We will participate actively in the center of research for the development of medicines and vaccines against tropical diseases CIDEPRO.
We will keep our doors open for all the people that want to do research in our group.
To support a multidisciplinary research group with a high level of academic and scientific training compromised with the University and with the country and supporting a permanent scientific relation with the best centers of research in tropical diseases of the world.
To increase the number of researchers of the group with people who has doctorate training.
To offer new formation programs to the level of posgrade and training for civil servants of health of the country to increase the suitable people to work in the research and control of the tropical diseases in Colombia.
To keep an updated and competent training center where students and the researchers could reach their scientific training and develop their projects of research.
Advise and transfer skills and procedures used by the group for the creation of centers of research for tropical diseases in less developed regions.
Develop products like medicine, vaccines, diagnostic tests, which are safe and economic, and can be an effective alternative in the programs of prevention and control of tropical diseases.