Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) Holds Third Annual Africhol Consortium Meeting

AMP is holding its third annual Africhol consortium meeting in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from November 27-28, 2012.

Participants include representatives of the nine Africhol partner countries (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda), focal points from ministries of health, and representatives of national and international organizations involved in the control or assessment of cholera in Africa: African Field Epidemiology Network – AFENET; EPIVAC, an AMP-led program to strengthen capacities in vaccinology and health services management; Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) in Mali; Organisation de Coordination pour la lutte contre les Endémies en Afrique Centrale (OCEAC); Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS); University of the Mediterranean Aix-Marseille II; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); West African Health Organisation (WAHO).

Held annually, the Africhol consortium meetings are an opportunity for members to compare national data on cholera epidemics; to share their experiences and knowledge on the fight against cholera; to receive updates on Africhol project activities and progress in participating countries; and to develop additional collaborative activities.

This year’s meeting includes four sessions, the first of which consists of country presentations on cholera data from 2011 and 2012. This session features a presentation by Dr. Sakoba Keita, Africhol Focal Point for Guinea, on the use of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) in the country as part of a vaccination campaign. Guinea is the first country in Africa to use OCV in the context of an epidemic. The second session focuses on Africhol in the context of global enteric disease initiatives. The third session includes two round tables on i) cholera epidemiology in Africhol member countries and project methodology, and ii) laboratory techniques for the diagnosis of Vibrio cholerae. The fourth session features initiatives and methodologies of Africhol consortium members to improve cholera prevention and control. One example is the development of mathematical modeling of enteric diseases (including cholera), presented by Dennis Chao, senior staff scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, USA).

Dr. Martin Mengel, Africhol Project Coordinator said: “The consortium meeting is an invaluable opportunity for Africhol country teams to discuss the cholera situation in their countries with national and international experts. The meeting also highlights the importance of raising awareness of endemic cholera in Africa, which has not received as much attention as epidemics elsewhere in the world caused by complex humanitarian emergencies.”

The insights gained from the Africhol consortium meeting will enable country teams to make recommendations to their national governments on the most appropriate and effective cholera prevention and control measures.