Surveillance and Response to Infectious Diseases under Spotlight

The scourge of infectious diseases in Africa will be the subject of a symposium co-hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina next week.

The symposium, entitled Surveillance and Response to Infectious Diseases and Comorbidities: An African and German Perspective, will explore antimicrobial resistance; one health; comorbidities; Big Four (HIV/AIDS; malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV).  

The high rate of mortality due to infectious disease remains a challenge in developing countries. The leading contributors to the disease burden in these countries fall under the so-called ‘big four’; HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and HCV. 

Despite huge investment and efforts to combat the threat of infectious diseases, Africa remains the most affected by HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. 

The development of new tools, strategies and approaches, such as improved diagnostics, novel therapies including vaccines, are needed to prevent, control and contain infectious diseases. 

The aim of the symposium is to assess the prevalence and patterns of surveillance and responses on infectious diseases in the Africa and Germany. The symposium will provide an opportunity to:

  • Scientifically analyse challenges pertaining to infectious diseases and comorbidities as they relate to surveillance, responses and diagnostics.

  • Identify current and future research needs that can be employed to tackle emerging scientific challenges.

  • Assess possible solutions to current challenges as they relate to surveillance and response to infectious diseases and morbidities and how these can used to provide science advice to governments.

  • Provide a platform for young and senior scientists from Africa and Germany to exchange scientific information at an international level.

The symposium will be preceded by a one-day workshop on Science Advice jointly organised with the International Network for Governmental Science Advice – Africa (INGSA-Africa) and the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa (ICSU-ROA).

The objectives of the workshop are to strengthen the capacity of scientists in providing science advice to national governments; develop and share science advice principles and guidelines pertaining to infectious diseases.  

When confronted with challenges such as surveillance and response to infectious diseases in Africa and Germany, it is imported that scientists are well informed about the available channels that can be used to provide science advice to governments.  

Some 100 participants from Africa and Germany, comprising senior researchers/experts, representatives from the private sector, policymakers, the scientific community and the public.  

The symposium will take place on 12 and 13 April 2018 in Durban. 

The full programme can be accessed here.