By Kyaw Thura Tun
The Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting 2016 (JITMM) took place this December with the theme ‘Uncover Asian tropical medicine’. The event was a great success, attracting over 800 regional and international participants, the highest attendance in over a decade.
During the conference Malaria Consortium staff presented the organisation’s expertise in innovative research, dengue and surveillance, outlined current regional projects and chaired group sessions.
Notable events included Malaria Consortium Asia Director Siddhi Aryal chairing the session ‘Meeting the challenge of outdoor transmission of malaria’. The session was extremely informative and featured presentations from World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance Hub, Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp Belgium and Infakara Health Institute of Tanzania. The WHO Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance Hub presentation by Michael MacDonald was a particular standout as he explained new paradigms for outdoor malaria transmission control, which showed options and opportunities moving from concept to programme implementation in the contexts of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Other Malaria Consortium presentations included Vanney Keo and Dyna Doum’s dengue related presentations about the situation in Cambodia and Shafique Muhammad’s session entitled ‘Malaria elimination: Mobile populations and behaviour changes’. This session – with presentations from Malaria Consortium, Bureau of Vector Borne Disease of Thailand and Raks Thai Foundation – attracted an array of stakeholders and partners with an interest in more effective and regional behaviour changes among mobile populations.
On the final day of the conference, I presented ‘Improved surveillance towards malaria elimination in Myanmar’. The presentation detailed how the National Malaria Control Programme project, supported by Malaria Consortium, filled gaps in capacity and surveillance, and how data gathering and data accessibility has improved greatly. In particular, I explained why our approach and the consolidation of data at all levels, including townships, states and regional levels, is so appropriate to Myanmar.
JITMM is the most notable annual event for the tropical medicine community in Asia, bringing a wide range of researchers, scientists, lecturers, programme managers, implementers, students, donors and policy makers from around the world. This meeting was one of the opportunities for Malaria Consortium to present our work to the region and the world. I was glad to see such a great turn out and high quality presentations, not just from Malaria Consortium staff, but the whole community. I look forward to returning in 2017.