International Research Cooperation

in Biostatistics and Epidemiology

1)     Department of Biostatistics
Faculty of Public Health
Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand


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Conventionally, capture–recapture techniques involving different lists such as police or hospitals are used for quantifying populations which are difficult to count, such as illicit drug user populations. Here, a novel approach is suggested based upon repeated entries in one list, which is less dependent on matching entries from different sources as in the conventional approach. For this purpose, data from the drug treatment surveillance system of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) will be used which utilize all data on treatment episodes of drug users from all 61 health treatment centers in the Bangkok metropolitan region. The purpose is to estimate the size of drug use in the Bangkok metropolitan region. Based upon the frequency of treatment episodes of each patient, a count distribution can be constructed which can be modeled well by means of a Poisson mixture model. Using this count model, an estimate for the number of unobserved drug users could be constructed. The study will concentrate on heroin and methamphetamine users who are predominantly male (96 % for heroin and 92 % for methamphetamine). Methamphetamine users are younger than heroin users (22 years  vs. 31 years). By using the truncated Poisson mixture model, an estimate of the unobserved frequency of drug users with zero treatment episodes can be constructed.  This estimate can be used to construct an estimate of completeness of identification of the surveillance system. It is expected that the proposed model shows excellent goodness-of-fit, unspecified for drug type and also if specified for the major drug types which allowed the prediction of the unobserved number of drug users in a realistic way, avoiding artifacts due to severe matching problems when using several, different sources. The technique is also easy to implement and can be used routinely to monitor drug user populations in space and time.

Relevant Publications:

Estimating the Number of Drug Users in Bangkok 2001: A Capture-Recapture Approach Using Repeated Entries in One List.

Nonparametric maximum likelihood estimation of the population size based upon the counting distribution

How Many Foodborne Outbreaks of Salmonella Infection Occurred in France in 1995? Application of the Capture-Recapture Method to Three Surveillance Systems.

 Cooperating Partner: Prof. Dr. Chukiat Viwatwongkasem

Support: THAI-DUO-Programme


2)     Department of  Applied Statistics
Faculty of Science
Mongut University North Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand


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Currently, the cooperation with KMUTNB is directed towards exchange in teaching staff to initialize research cooperation. Also, research students are starting their PhD training at the University of Reading.

Relevant Publications:

A Generalization of Chao's Inequality for Population Size Estimation.

Cooperating Partner:      Prof. Dr. Sa-aat Niwitpong

Support: Thailand Science Fund


3)     Department of  Medical Statistics
Faculty of Medicine, Ege University
Izmir, Turkey

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Currently, the cooperation with the Department of Medical Statistics is directed towards exchange in teaching staff to initialize research cooperation.

Relevant Publications:  (in progess)

Cooperating Partner:      Prof. Dr. Fikret Ikriz

Support: ERASMUS


Event in Izmir (Turkey):    

Cesme Early Summer School, 30-31 May 2011 (supported by ERASMUS)

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LHS: Lecturers from the University of Reading and Ege University preparing the computer room for practical work; RHS: antique theatre in Ephesos

Course Files




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European Master of Science
International Health Degree Programme


4)     Institute for Tropical Medicine, Charité University Medicine Berlin,

Free University and Humboldt University Berlin
Berlin, Germany

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International Health is a discipline that systematically compares factors that affect the health of all human populations with a special focus on poverty-related health problems in low- and middle-income countries. International Health includes the promotion of health, prevention and treatment of diseases and rehabilitation. Knowledge, skills and the ability to critically analyse and draw implications for practice related to the major endemic diseases, health systems research, health economics, health policy and management of health services are essential.

tropEd is a network of European institutions for higher education in international health. It collaborates closely with institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. tropEd provides postgraduate opportunities for education and training contributing to sustainable development. It focuses on improving the management of health services for disadvantaged populations. The innovative approach is based on mobility of people, the exchange of experiences in different disciplines and the establishment of a common standard in education and training.

tropEd offers a degree programme leading to a master of international health. The section of Applied Statistics of the University of Reading together with the Statistical Services Center supports a 2-weeks module on Advanced Epidemiological Methods.

Relevant Publications:  a  diversity of course documents available through the instructors Professor Dankmar Böhning and James Gallagher.

Cooperating Partner:      Prof. Dr. Gundel Harms-Zwingenberger, Frau Christine Bruhns, Frau Giesela Schillings

Support: ERASMUS-Mundus