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International scientists and public health experts discuss immune response, diagnosis, vaccine, prevention and preparedness to combat enteric diseases

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 28 January 2020: Beginning today, the 15th Asian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition brings together more than 450 researchers, health care professionals, policymakers and programme persons who are dedicated to improving the lives of young children and their families suffering from typhoid, cholera, malnutrition and other enteric diseases. Over the course of the three day conference, participants from 18 countries have gathered to discuss new research, as well as how to turn this evidence into action in the fight against these public health challenges. The conference is being organised by icddr,b and supported by the Government of Bangladesh, the World Health Organisation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as other local and international sponsors.

During the conference, participants are presenting new research that will promote scientific collaboration and advance a clear agenda to combat enteric diseases. Discussions will include updates on the global disease burden; antibiotic resistance; best practices for diagnostics and surveillance; the role of water, sanitation and hygiene practices; and strategies for prevention and control, including progress on vaccines in development -- including cholera and new typhoid conjugate vaccines.

Dr Firdausi Qadri, Senior Scientist, icddr,b and President, ASCODD welcomes the participants and wishes that the participant will use this opportunity to engage themselves, to network and to be inspired by their fellow scientists and researchers from all over the world. She said, “ASCODD provides an exciting opportunity to learn, share, discuss and evaluate research, innovation and strategies to combat global public health challenges faced by millions of people.”

“We look forward to a conference filled with impactful discussions and insights, and occasional controversies, and debates.” – she added.

Professor Nirmal K. Ganguly, Former Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research, India and Immediate Past President of ASCODD talked about the background of ASCODD.

The Honourable Minister for Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Mr. Zahid Maleque, MP inaugurated the conference as the Chief Guest. In his address, he said, “I thank the organisers of the 15th ASCODD for choosing Bangladesh as the venue for this important discussion that will help achieve global goals to control some of the major public health challenges and achieving sustainable development goals.”

On the occasion, Mr. Md. Ashadul Islam, Secretary, Health Services Division, MoHFW, Bangladesh said, “The conference not only provides inspirational and energizing opportunities to connect with the greater scientific community but also offers new strategies to address different health challenges. Personally, I find conferences rejuvenating.”

On behalf of international scientists Professor Jan Holmgren, University of Gothenburg, Sweden address the occasion while Professor Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, Directorate General of Health Services, Government of Bangladesh addressed on behalf of Bangladeshi scientists.

Professor John D Clemens, Executive Director, icddr,b made his remarks on icddr,b, ASCODD and Beyond. He also invited the participants to celebrate the 60 years anniversary of icddr,b during this auspicious gathering. Professor Clemens said, “From its humble beginning as the Cholera Research Laboratory in 1960, icddr,b has grown  into a world renowned public health research institution, continuously contributing to public health solutions and saving lives globally.”

“As we celebrate and reflect upon 60 years of the Centre, we also look towards the future to address existing and emerging challenges to vulnerable populations and fulfil our vision of a world in which more people survive and enjoy healthy lives.” – he added.

Since its first Conference convened in 1981 when diarrhoea was the number one killer of children and oral rehydration solution was just unfolding its miracles, ASCODD has come a long way and has been held in many Asian countries including Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the past years.

Scientists and experts from the world’s leading research institutions including Harvard Medical School, USA; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA; University of Washington, USA; Sabin Vaccine Institute, USA; Fogarty International Center, USA; University of Oxford, UK; University of Cambridge, UK; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK; Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya; the World Health Organisation; UNICEF; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USA; Center for Disease Control, USA; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Bangladesh; Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh as well as sponsors will attend the conference. Additionally, representatives from governments, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), physicians, medical students will participate in the conference.