Through the generous support of various governments and organizations and the enthusiastic participation of scientists and institutions in many countries The UNDP /WORID BANK/WHO special programme for research and training in tropical diseases (TDR for short) Is making steady progress towards improvement in the control of selected diseases in tropical countries through the pursuit of two interdependent objectives. Research and development towards new and improved tools to control six tropical diseases and strengthening of national institutions including training to increase the research capabilities of the developing countries affected by the diseases. The six target diseases are: malaria schistosomiasis filariasis (including onchocerciasis) trypanosomiasis (both African sleeping sickness and Latin American Chagas' disease) leishmaniasis and leprosy. Research programmes are in operation for all of them. Since some important aspects of research are common to several or all of the diseases the special Programme also supports research in the areas of biomedical sciences vector control epidemiology and social and economic studies. In this issue you will find some aspects of the TDR Special Programme in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.