This daily programme is updated very frequently - please keep checking back for new session details!

10:30 (90 mins)

Track 1 / Track 2

Advancing Schistosomiasis control interventions towards the elimination goals 2030: innovative examples from eastern and central Africa using One Health and Citizen Science approaches

Swiss Society for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology

Co-chairs: Helena Greter, PhD, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute,  Switzerland; Prof Salome Duerr, Veterinary Public Health Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

Speakers: Stefanie Knopp, PhD, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute Switzerland; Tine Huyse, PhD, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium; Richard Bongo Naré Ngandolo, PhD, Institut de Recherche en Elevage pour le Développement, N'djamena, Chad

To achieve the ambitious WHO target of eliminating schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2030, new, innovative interventions are urgently needed. These will only succeed if the population concerned is engaging from the planning to the implementation. 

In this session, we will hear about examples from Chad, DRC, Tansania and Uganda that are bringing One Health and Citizen Science approaches into action to achieve contextualised, acceptable and feasible schistosomiasis interventions.

10:30 (90 mins)

Track 2

Novel diagnostics for infectious disease in the tropics

Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany

Co-chairs: Prof Sören L. Becker, MD PhD, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany; Prof Emmanuel Bottieau, MD PhD, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Speakers: Dr Sophie Schneitler, MD, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany; Dr Sakib Burza, MD PhD, Health in Harmony, Portland, United States of America; Prof Aladje Baldé, PhD, National Institute of Public Health, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau; Dr Elsa H. Murhandarwati, PhD, Center for Tropical Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Novel rapid diagnostics for common and neglected infectious diseases have the potential to considerably improve individual patient management and also prevalence estimates of previously underappreciated pathogens in the tropics. Additionally, rapid diagnostic tests can be applied in field settings where no well-equipped laboratory is established. However, these techniques also need to be broadly validated and require regular quality assurance assessments. 

In this session, we aim to present and discuss four case studies pertaining to diagnostics for tuberculosis, helminth infections and multi-resistant bacteria in diverse settings from tropical Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

13:30 (90 mins)

Track 2

Digital optical devices – a new development in parasite diagnostics

Co-chairs: Lisette van Lieshout; Leiden UMC, the Netherlands; Peter Ward, Enaiblers, Uppsala Science Park, Sweden, IDLab, Department of Electronics and information systems, University of Ghent - Imec, Belgium;

Speakers: Professor Jake Baum, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Elena Dacal Picazo, Spotlab, Spain; Peter Ward, Enaiblers, Sweden, IDLab, Department of Electronics and information systems, University of Ghent - Imec, Belgium; Temitope Agbana, Delft University of Technology; Temitope Ebenezer Agbana, MSc, PhD, Delft Centre for Systems and Controls

Current diagnostics of parasitic diseases relies on conventional microscopy, especially in low-income settings where access to cutting-edge technology is limited. The microscopic detection of parasites in clinical samples has limited sensitivity, particularly in the case of low-intensity infections. Besides, the procedure is observer-dependent, error-prone, time-consuming and not suitable for high-throughput analysis and it requires functional microscopes and properly trained technicians. 

To address these diagnostic challenges, innovative digital optical devices, some supported by artificial intelligence technology, are being developed by various international research groups. They range from stand-alone devices to components added to conventional microscopes, with or without the option of remote, offline data analysis. All aim to achieve (semi)automated detection and quantification of parasites in clinical samples. Co-creation, meaning elucidation of the needs of stakeholders and to translating them into inclusive product specifications, is an important aspect in order to achieve usability in the local context. 

This session aims to highlight research developments and to bring together a multidisciplinary audience composed of biomedical scientists, diagnostic product designers and public health specialists. The entire development chain, from research and development to implementation in a low-resource setting, will be discussed and future direction points will be formulated.

13:30 (90 mins)

Track 2

Current and future landscapes on Buruli ulcer and leprosy treatment

Co-chairs: Santiago Ramón García, University of Zaragoza, Spain; Roch Christian Johnson, Foundation Raoul Follereau, Paris France;

Speakers: Santiago Ramón García (PhD), ARAID Foundation/University of Zaragoza, Spain; Prof Gerd Pluschke (PhD), Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland; Kodio Mamoudou (MD), Hopital de Dermatologie de Bamako, Mali; Roch Christian Johnson (MD, PhD), Foundation Raoul Follereau, France

The purpose of the session is to provide a forum for the relevant stakeholders in skin Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), especially those on Buruli ulcer (BU) and leprosy drug development, where discussing the current and future landscape on these disease treatments, as well as main challenges in the clinical trials and experimental interventions presented. 

In the case of BU, this is a skin NTD. Current WHO-recommended treatment requires eight weeks of daily rifampicin and clarithromycin, wound care and, sometimes, tissue grafting and surgery. Healing can take up to one year and may pose an unbearable financial burden to the household. Several clinical trials are currently ongoing and other experimental interventions have been proposed aiming to improve BU treatment by shortening its duration.

In an NTD landscape of limited funding opportunities and with the number of BU cases in the decline in African countries compromising future clinical trials, it is of utmost importance to integrate and optimize efforts. The main goal being simplifying and shortening BU treatment ensuring readily access to medicines and health care to those patients in need and, therefore, addressing one of the WHO targets for BU set in the road map for NTDs: that by 2030 the proportion of confirmed cases who have completed a full course of antibiotic treatment will be higher than 90%.

The main goal of this workshop is thus to provide a forum for all relevant stakeholders in the BU drug development field to give a general overview on the current and future landscape on BU treatment, and to address the following specific objectives:

  • Is it possible to integrate results from ongoing clinical trials?
  • Given the current BU scenario, what are the future perspective of other drugs or combination regimens or novel interventions?
  • What would be the way forward to improve and ensure access to treatment?

In the case of leprosy, the current treatment dates from the 1980s with a duration of twelve months for multibacillary forms combining three antibiotics, namely rifampicin, dapsone and clofazimine. Thanks to this treatment, millions of leprosy cases have been successfully treated worldwide.

However, recent WHO publications report more and more resistance to one or more current treatment drugs, in particular rifampicin. It is then necessary to consider shorter and more robust therapeutic regimens.

In addition, the fight against leprosy has always been organized in vertical programmes based on screening and the administration of multi drug therapy. However, integration into the NTDs, particularly that with cutaneous manifestation, is becoming an important strategy for organizing and sustaining the fight against leprosy.

This workshop will provide a platform for the various actors to discuss the current challenges in the treatment of leprosy and will make it possible to identify some future perspectives from the clinical trials currently in progress including molecules such as bedaquiline used in the treatment of tuberculosis and having demonstrated efficacy against Mycobacterium leprae in preclinical studies. It will also make it possible to take stock of the challenges of integrating the fight against leprosy in NTDs with cutaneous manifestations, in particular the challenges concerning integrated care at the community level.

13:30 (90 mins)

Track 2 / Track 4

Impact and interventions for mental health and neglected tropical diseases

Co-chairs: Dr Wim van Brakel, NLR International, Netherlands; Dr Julian Eaton, CMB Global and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,  UK

Speakers: Ms Robin van Wijk, NLR International, the Netherlands; Dr Pradeepta Nayak, NLR India; Dr Maya Semrau, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK; Representative from Mind Skin Link Project Nigeria, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (TBC); Mr Mijan Rahman, Lepra Bangladesh, Lepra UK

The aim of this session is to share evidence of the impact of neglected tropical diseases on mental wellbeing and social participation of persons affected. 

Preliminary results will be shared from intervention studies to improve mental wellbeing interventions designed for this group. The objective is to identify common lessons learned and a road ahead to improve the mental wellbeing of persons affected by these diseases.

13:30 (90 mins)

Track 5

Staying safe while working on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in hostile environments

Justice for Prosperity Foundation

Chair: Lou Errens LLM, Justice for Prosperity Foundation

Speakers: Jelle Postma, Justice for Prosperity Foundation; Frances Singleton, Amsterdam Law Hub of the University of Amsterdam; Lou Errens LLM,  Justice for Prosperity (Foundation

An increasing number of development non-governmental organisations, human rights, and SRHR professionals experience aggressive actions from opposing groups, individuals, or host governments. Legal restrictions or strategic legal actions against public participation, surveillance spyware, verbal attacks, hate speech, and physical threats against assets and personnel result in a shrinking civil space that requires an answer.

Justice for Prosperity Foundation investigates aggression against and provides support to SRHR workers under siege; in this workshop on safety and security, we will cover risk management, key types of aggressors and defences against their actions.

15:30 (90 mins)

Track 1

Racism, inequity, health and well-being: an urgent call for a European stance

Ghent University; University of Amsterdam; Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht; Belgian Lung and Tuberculosis Association

Co-chairs: Dr Wouter Arrazola de Oñate, MD; Dr Joyce Browne, UMC Utrecht

Speakers: Dr Niloufar Ashtiani, CREDOCOR; Prof Charles Agyemang, UMC Amsterdam; Prof Delan Devankumar, University College London; Dr Alana Helberg-Proctor, University of Amsterdam; Dr Ama Kissi, Ghent University; Abigail Norville, deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Health, the Netherlands

Several major public health institutions declared racism and discrimination a major threat to public health, in response to the vast and growing body of evidence indicating the deleterious health consequences of racism. These institutions include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the American Public Health Association, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Lancet Series ‘Racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and the determination of health’ was published in December 2022 and proposed an excellent conceptual framework of how racism affects health. The current O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health, will further accelerate our understanding through research and translation of these findings into practice and policy.

Remarkably, research (reviewed by the above) about the impact of racism on health has been primarily conducted in the US (+/-80%) - with a small portion from UK / Australia / Canada / New-Zeeland (+/-10%) and the remaining +/-10% from the rest of the world, including Europe. 

This session aims to address the evidence gap on the physical and mental health consequences of racism within the European context. Contextualized evidence generation is important to inform national and European public health and clinical practice and policies. This panel discussion will build onto the work of the O’Neill-Lancet Commission and continue and expand this to focus on the European context. 

The session’s objectives are to:

  • Introduce the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health
  • Delineate the state of the art on research on racism and health within the European context
  • Discuss how racial discrimination may negatively impact people’s health through both healthcare and wider societal context
  • Provide insights into the importance of research on the mechanisms of racism and how this could translate into interventions aimed at eradicating racism within healthcare
  • Share patients’ and healthcare providers’ (e.g., medical doctors and clinical psychologists) perspectives, expert opinions and lived experiences
  • Discuss the complexities and unintended consequences of attending to concepts such as ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in health research and healthcare. In doing so, we will focus on the conceptualization and application of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ as social vs biological constructs, and how they should be applied in inclusive healthcare

This session will appeal to a broad, global audience of scientists, clinicians, and policy-makers, exemplifying the emerging notion that global health concerns health equity everywhere. 

It is our hope that insights deriving from our panel discussion may not only inspire, but also motivate these agents to put anti-racism high on their agenda and invest in diversity-sensitive care, research, and policy.

15:30 (90 mins)

Track 2

Advances of circulating anodic antigen detection for schistosomiasis diagnosis in non-endemic and endemic settings

Co-chairs: Anna Kildemoes, Statens Serum Institute Copenhagen, Denmark; Pytsje Hoekstra, Department of Parasitology, UMC Leiden, the Netherlands;

Speakers: Govert van Dam, UMC Leiden, the Netherlands; Francesca Tamarozzi, IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital, Italy; Pytsje Hoekstra, UMC Leiden, the Netherlands; Luc Coffeng, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Jaap van Hellemond, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Sarah Nogaro, FIND, Switzerland

The WHO 2030 roadmap identifies diagnostic developments as a critical need for progress towards control and elimination of schistosomiasis. Circulating anodic antigen (CAA) has proved to be a highly specific and sensitive biomarker for detection of active infection with all (human) schistosome species. CAA is and extensively studied and well-characterised circulating parasite antigen, which is regurgitated by Schistosoma worms living in the blood vessels of infected hosts. CAA can be detected in urine and serum samples via the ultra-sensitive and highly specific up-converting reporter particle lateral flow (UCP-LF) test. The UCP-LF CAA assay is not limited to a single Schistosoma species, and its sensitivity even allows detection of a single adult worm pair as demonstrated in a primate model. CAA is rapidly cleared from the circulation of the host, allowing for an early assessment of treatment efficacy after interventions. Several formats of laboratory based UCP-LF CAA assays exist with applicability for various sample types including urine, serum, plasma, and dried blood spots. Tests have also been developed in dry format, which allow for storage and worldwide shipment of reagents without need for a cold chain. Overall, the UCP-LF CAA test has great potential for accurate detection presence and intensity of Schistosoma infections including monitoring praziquantel treatment efficacy.

This session will provide an overview of currently available CAA assay formats and discuss their strengths and limitations in non-endemic as well as endemic settings. Experiences from applying the UCP-LF CAA assay in Italy for non-endemic traveller and migrant routine diagnostics will demonstrate pre- and post-treatment data and capacity for detection of very low worm burdens. Randomised controlled RePST trial data from Côte d’Ivoire illustrates the use of multiple schistosomiasis diagnostic tools including CAA in an endemic setting. CAA results highlight the need for such a highly specific and ultra-sensitive tool if the aim is to reach control or even break transmission. Modelling approaches can be used to prioritise use of the still costly UCP-CAA test in combination with other measures in order to get maximum impact with limited resources. Finally, quality control importance and initiatives will be discussed to future-proof use and reliability of CAA tests.

The session will start with a short overview of CAA detection for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis by Govert van Dam from the Department of Parasitology, LUMC, Leiden, the Netherlands, followed by five expert presentations, including a general discussion at the end of the session.

15:30 (90 mins)

Track 6

Why planetary health risk analysis is necessary for environment and child health

Global Health Norway; Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Chair: Prof Jon Øyvind Odland,  The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Speakers: Associate Prof Solrunn Hansen, The Arctic University of Norway; Dr Muhammad Asaduzzaman, University of Oslo, Norway; Dr Mphatso Mwapasa, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Malawi, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology;

In this organized session, we aim to present ongoing and recently implemented studies of the impact of various environmental toxins on the pregnancy outcome and child health in different parts of the world. All studies (ranging from case studies to policy briefs) depict ecotoxicological exposure as a major global child health stressor with compatible and comparable results. 

17:15 (90 mins)

Intersectoral working among education and health: from words into actions

UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the importance of intersectoral working between health and education sectors - yet they still have their own objectives and speak their own language. 

During this session we will look at the importance of intersectoral working between health and education and especially how this can be put into practice. We will share good examples of intersectoral working in school and community settings and on implementation in a co-creative way contributing to social change. Participants are invited to share their experiences. By the end of this session participants will have practical ideas to improve intersectoral collaboration in their own work.

The UNESCO Chair on Global Health & Education brings together people and organisations from different backgrounds with a common interest in health and education. The focus is on intersectoral working  that aims to orient and support social change in order to improve the health for all, reduce inequalities and preserve our planet. The Chair community consists of researchers, professionals working in the health, education and social sectors, activists, communities, networks and institutions. 

17:15 (90 mins)

Track 1

Health systems strengthening and innovation: what can high income countries learn from low- and middle-income countries?

GEO, Working Group on Health and Development of the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health

Chair: Dr Gilles de Wildt , Associate Clinical Professor Global Health, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK and GEO , Working Group on Health in Developing Countries of the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health

Speakers: Dr Matthew Harris, Imperial College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, Prof Quazi Monirul Islam, MBBS, MPH, FRCOG, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand; Dr Fleur de Meijer, Aga Khan University, Kenya; additional names TBC

Health system strengthening is often viewed through the prism of high income countries (HICs), as an approach that is mainly applicable to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Achievements and innovations in LMICs that could be suitable in other health care systems are often overlooked. 

In this session, keynote speakers will highlight examples, including: 

  • What can health systems globally learn from the Brazilian nationwide Community Health Agents' Programme to strengthen and improve access to services at the community level – and to respond to and facilitate community involvement? 
  • Lives and livelihoods: Lessons from the worldwide responses to the Covid pandemic and how communities can contribute to, or lead innovations in health service delivery with examples from LMICs; 
  • What is the global significance of training and education in LMICs?

This will be followed by themed small group discussions, with keynote speakers as resource persons, exploring suitability in HICs. Small groups will be asked to articulate relevant recommendations for strengthening policies in HICs. Recommendations will be discussed and prioritised in a concluding short plenary meeting for use by professional, educational governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Cross-cutting themes will include WHO's policy recommendations on building resilient health systems based on primary health care; Investing in whole-society engagement, in all-hazards domestic and global emergency responses as well as pandemic preparedness on the back of the Covid control experiences.

17:15 (90 mins)

Track 2

Research and development on novel drugs for nematode infections; insight from academia and product development partnerships working together in the EU-funded Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP) project

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Co-chairs: Jennifer Keiser, PhD, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland; Sabine Specht, PhD, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Switzerland

Speakers: Jennifer Keiser, PhD, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute; Sabine Specht, PhD, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative; Marc Hübner, PhD, Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University Hospital Bonn, Germany; Said Jongo, PhD, Ifakara Health Institute, Bagamoyo, Tanzania;

More effective, safe, and affordable treatments are needed for helminth diseases, to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on health. 

HELP is an EU-funded project run by a consortium of universities, not-for-profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for soil-transmitted helminthiases and onchocerciasis. The consortium is establishing a much-needed drug R&D pipeline, progressing drug discovery up to clinical trials. In this symposium we will update the audience on the recent progress in research and development for soil-transmitted helminthiases and onchocerciasis.

ECTMIH2023 is co-organised by University Medical Center Utrecht, Universiteitsweg 100, 3584 CG Utrecht, Netherlands
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