Khartoum, Sudan, 8th-12th September 2013
The 32nd International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control Conference was held at the Friendship Hall, Khartoum, The Sudan from 8th-12th September 2013. The theme of the Conference was "Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research and Control for Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development: Promoting Partnership and Learning Agenda in the Context of African Renaissance".
Over 200 participants attended the meeting and were drawn from 22 African Member States, the African Union Commission, Universities and Research Institutions from all over the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases (DNDi) and the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicine (GALVmed).
The Conference was officially opened by the First Vice President of the Republic of The Sudan, His Excellency Ali Osman Muhammed Taha. Other dignitaries who also graced the Conference included the Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland, Dr. Faysal Hassan Ibrahim, The African Union Commission Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Madame Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, the Director of African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, and the Coordinator of African Union Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC), Dr. Hassane Mahamat.
The key note speaker, His Excellency, Ali Osman Muhammed Taha, underscored the import of the joint African Cooperation and the role of Pan Africanism in the development of Africa. He accentuated the contribution of livestock to food security and consequently the obligation of African countries to protect livestock from animal diseases. He encouraged the ISCTRC platform to continue providing the vital information that would aid the fight against T&T.
The Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland, Dr. Faysal Hassan Ibrahim, highlighted the negative impact of trypapanosomiasis on rural development of The Sudan and urged scientists and development partners to harness their energies and resources towards a sustainable solution to the problem.
The Director of AU-IBAR Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, outlined the five broad objectives of the conference as follows:
- information sharing;
- review of T&T control technologies;
- strategies and policy options;
- the identification of research gaps;
- propose recommendations for the next two years.
He also expressed his sincere appreciation for the excellent preparations made by the Government of The Sudan in hosting the conference.
The conference was further inspired through the key note address headlined "Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research and Control for Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development: Promoting partnership and Learning Agenda in the Context of African Renaissance" made by the African Union Commission, Commissioner for Rural Economy, Madam Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. It was appreciated that the theme of the Conference was perfectly aligned with the on-going initiative of developing the Africa Agenda 2063 on a Shared Strategic Framework for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.
The Conference was informed that through this agenda, Africa sought to achieve three objectives:
- to agree on the Africa we want,
- to set milestones and concrete strategies on how we will get there,
- to define the role each of us should play to achieve this agenda.
It was observed that Tsetse and Trypanosomiais was costing the continent an estimated USD 5 billion annually resulting from losses attributable to to Animal African Trypanosomiasis (AAT). In addition, despite a decline in the number of human sleeping sickness cases reported, the condition continued to cause a strain on public health services in many areas of rural Africa.
Participants were petitioned to leverage the opportunity to reflect on the progress made so far in the fight against the scourge of Trypanosomiasis. In this regard, AU-PATTEC was commended for initiating projects that had yielded significant benefits to rural communities.
To sustain this momentum, African countries were persuaded to commit to two initiatives:
- Sign up to the National and Regional Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to ensure that T&T receives enough attention and support;
- To include T&T control in their poverty reduction strategy papers.
The conference was also motivated through deliberations on 95 papers and posters that encompassed T&T research and control activities in Member States, reports from International organizations, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Animal African Trypanosomiasis. Glossina Biology, Control and Eradication, and Socio-Economics, Environment and Land Use.
The meeting appreciated that despite the progress made, capacity gaps still exist for the control and elimination of tsetse and trypanosomisis. It was also observed that the number of young African Scientists that had taken keen interest in T&T research and publication had increased. It was encouraging to note the increasing synergy between actors in endemic countries, international organisations, research institutions, development partners and the private sector in the fight against T&T. This state of affairs had been facilitated by the good advocacy carried out by AU-PATTEC.
The meeting noted the progress that was being made in the development of new diagnostic tools and new therapeutics such as tsetse genetic profiling as a step towards the development of area-wide tsetse control and/or eradication. Interest in the use of non-invasive methods for the early detection of second stage of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) continued to take a center stage. The meeting noted with appreciation the contribution of countries towards the elimination of HAT as evidenced by the declining incidence of the disease. Endemic countries were however cautioned not to relent on HAT surveillance, and to ensure proper combination of drugs and dosages for the treatment of HAT.
The conference noted a general trend towards the adoption of an integrated approach to the management of T&T using methods that are appropriate for given circumstances. Some of the methods include the use of the Sequential Aerosol Technique (SAT), Ground Spraying, insecticide impregnated targets and screens, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), and chemotherapy. These efforts had been targeted at improving both human and animal health. Suggestions were made to involve the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the formulation and implementation of tsetse programmes.
Participants called on AU-PATTEC to play a leading role in identifying management and resource challenges facing member countries in the fight against T&T and to propose sustainable ways of addressing these challenges.
The closing ceremony was officiated by The Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland, Dr. Faysal Hassan Ibrahim, the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, the Coordinator of AU-PATTEC, Dr. Hassane Mahamat, and the incoming Chairman of ISCTRC, Prof. Ahmed Hussien Abdel Rahman.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the incoming Chairman of ISCTRC, thanked the outgoing Chairman of ISCTRC Dr. Sadou Maiga for steering the ISCTRC over the last two years. He said that ISCTRC Conference provided an environment for sharing knowledge on T&T and he equated ISCTRC Conference to an intensive training course on T&T. He further said that ISCTRC provided the PATTEC initiative with a strong scientific input. He thanked the First Vice President of the Sudan, His Excellency Ali Osman Muhammed Taha and the Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland, Dr. Faysal Hassan Ibrahim for their support. He further thanked the National Organising Committee Members for their hard work and everyone who contributed to the success of the meeting.
On his part, the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy thanked the Government and people of The Sudan for hosting the 32nd ISCTRC General Conference. He also thanked the National Organising Committee and the ISCTRC Executive Committee for working tirelessly to make the event possible. He appreciated the participation of Member States, Universities and Research Institutions, Regional and International organizations. He observed that the conference had achieved its set objectives and said that AU-IBAR, would work with all the stakeholders in addressing the recommendations made during the conference.
While closing the meeting, the Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland, Dr. Faysal Hassan Ibrahim thanked all the dignitaries for participating in the Conference. He paid special tributes to the scientists that were awarded certificates for having displayed winning posters. He said that he was pleased to note that women were in the forefront in the fight against T&T as witnessed by the number of women who received the certificates. He said that the recommendations made at the meeting should be implemented at the grassroot as the stakeholders expected fruits from the conference.
He further said that the T&T plague required National and international unity to address and was pleased to note that scientists working in the T&T were unified as demonstrated during the conference. He said that Socio-economic development goes beyond political borders and political obstacles. In thanking the ISCTRC for having honored The Sudan to host its 32nd Conference, he reiterated his country's commitment to jointly with other Arab countries, support AU-PATTEC to mobilize the necessary resources and to work with the neighboring countries on T&T control.