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Research conference held in "the Cradle of TB"

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In January and February 2015, a tuberculosis research seminar followed by diagnostics and bioinformatics training courses were held in Ethiopia. The events were organized by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Oslo University Hospital in collaboration with Armauer Hansen Research Institute in Addis Ababa and Amhara Regional State Health Bureau in Bahir-Dar.


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Research seminar

 
EVO-TB team Ethiopia Etiopia 2015.jpg
 EVO-TB team

The conference began with a 3-day research seminar in Bahir Dar, entitled “The Cradle of TB” after the recent discovery of an ancient lineage of TB in Ethiopia. More than 65 scientists, university professors and lecturers, government officials, TB control programme managers and experts took part, together with other non-governmental organizations from Ethiopia, Norway, Sudan, South-Sudan and France.

A starting point for the conference was the implementation of the EvoTB project, a project studying the relationship between genetic tuberculosis strain variants and severity of tuberculosis disease in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and in Sudan and South Sudan.

Lectures and interactive group discussion sessions were used to update participants about TB epidemiology, genomics, diagnostic health information systems and how to conduct operational research. The seminar helped to encourage networking and efficient knowledge exchange among the participants.

The participants found the seminar to be very “informative, fruitful and participatory, giving them the chance to share ideas and strengthen collaboration to control TB transmission in the three countries.” The event was covered by several media outlets, and a 15 minute seminar programme was shown on national television in Ethiopia.

Training

Ethiopia Etiopia TB tuberkulose 2015 EVO team.jpg
Following the seminar, laboratory and bioinformatics training courses for microbiologists and public health experts from Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan were held at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute and ALERT training centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The aim was to offer practical training on current tools for microbiological TB confirmation and provide basic bioinformatics knowledge to the participants. Dr Abraham Aseffa, Scientific Director of Armauer Hansen Research Institute officially opened the training. A total of 32 participants recruited from the three countries attended the courses and were awarded certificates after completion.

The seminar and training were sponsored by the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Oslo University Hospital.