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Looking Back at the 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress

The 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress was held at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel on 29th and 30th August. As its name implies, this was the second Congress on Melioidosis to be held in this region, involving countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, to increase awareness about melioidosis.

Melioidosis is a neglected tropical disease that is frequently mis-or under-diagnosed in the region. Hence, the theme of the conference, “Unearthing a subterranean infection”. Revealing the hidden burden of infection requires the co-operation of a network of microbiologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, and public health personnel. The 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress aimed to allow researchers and clinical personnel to meet and learn from global experts on the disease and develop collaborations within and between countries in the region and groups overseas with the ultimate goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality of this potentially fatal infection.

The objectives of the 2nd SAMC were:

  1. To raise awareness among clinicians, public health personnel, policy makers and the public of the burden of disease caused by melioidosis in South Asia.
  2. To disseminate knowledge and skills pertaining to melioidosis within the South Asian region
  3. To promote basic and applied research in melioidosis.
  4. To promote collaboration among clinicians and researchers in the region to study the epidemiology, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, management and prevention and control of melioidosis.

The target audience were Clinical Microbiologists, other Clinicians, Infectious Disease specialists, Laboratory personnel, Epidemiologists, Public Health personnel, Veterinarians, Policy makers and Researchers in Infectious Diseases.

Organising Committee

  • Patron: Prof Vasanthi Thevanesam (Sri Lanka)
  • Chairperson: Dr Enoka Corea (Sri Lanka)
  • Prof Chiranjay Mukhopadhayay (India)
  • Prof Tim Inglis (Australia)
  • Prof David Dance (Laos)
  • Dr Herbert Schweizer (US)
  • Dr Dharshan de Silva (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Thushari Dissanayake (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Nayomi Dhanthanarayana (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Malika Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
  • Ms Ranmalie Abeysekara (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Muditha Abeykoon (Sri Lanka)

The academic progamme consisted of a series of lectures delivered by world renowned experts in all areas of melioidosis including history, epidemiology, clinical presentation, immune response, laboratory diagnosis, soil surveillance etc. International speakers from the USA, Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Thailand, India and Bangladesh were the resource persons at this conference. In addition, case presentations were presented by researchers from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. A “Meet the Expert” session where researchers and clinicians could meet and interact with the expert of their choice was held.

Twenty four e-posters were presented. First, second and third prizes were awarded to the poster presenters at a valedictory ceremony.

Outcome

The 2nd SAMC was highly successful with the participation of 160 persons on the 29th August and 150 persons on the 30th August. This included 18 speakers from overseas, 2 local speakers, 2 observers from the region (from Nepal and Pakistan) and 4 Indian researchers who were awarded travel scholarships and a further 21 overseas registrants.

List of resource persons

  1. Tim Inglis Perth                Australia
  2. Adam Merrit Perth                Australia
  3. Natkunam Ketheesan Townsville       Australia
  4. David Dance Vientiane         Laos
  5. Ivo Steinmetz Vienna             Austria
  6. Joost Wiersinga Amsterdam     Netherlands
  7. Direk Limmathurotsakul Bangkok          Thailand
  8. Narisara Chandratita Bangkok          Thailand
  9. Ganjana Lertmemongkolchai Bangkok          Thailand
  10. Wirongrong Chierakul Bangkok Thailand
  11. Chiranjay Mukhopadhyay Manipal           India
  12. Vandana KE Manipal           India
  13. Chaitanya TAK Manipal           India
  14. Tushar Shaw Manipal           India
  15. Shariful Alam Jilani Dhaka              Bangladesh
  16. Herbert Schweitzer Florida             USA
  17. Apichai Tuanyok Florida             USA
  18. Mohan Natesan Maryland         USA
  19. Enoka Corea Colombo         Sri Lanka
  20. Dharshan de Silva Colombo         Sri Lanka

Other important information

The Chief Guest for the opening ceremony was Dr Razia Pendse, WHO Representative in Sri Lanka.

The abstracts were reviewed by reviewers from the Sri Lankan Society for Microbiology (SSM).

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided travel awards to 5 speakers and 4 poster presenters.

Travel scholarships were given by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, to participants from the region.

NHSL Commemorates Global Hand washing Day 2017 with Hand Washing Ceremony of a Different Nature

By ;  Dr. Geethika Patabendige

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing as to prevent infectious diseases and save lives. It is celebrated annually on October 15 worldwide and it is an opportunity to encourage public and healthcare workers to wash their hands at critical times.

The 2017 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Our Hands Our Future!” emphasizing how hand washing protects our health allowing us to build our own future. It is very timely in the era of increasing trend of multidrug resistant and pandrug resistant microorganisms in healthcare as well as community settings. 

The infection control unit of NHSL organized  a hand washing ceremony in two sessions morning and afternoon filled with different types of educational activities namely hand washing step dances, dramas, ”viridu”, presentations, hand washing demonstrations and hands on experiences etc.  targeting the healthcare workers in commemorating the Global hand Washing Day 2017 on October 20 , 2017 because we strongly believe that behavioural change in the healthcare workers is of utmost importance in preventing and controlling healthcare associated infections for which WHO five moments of hand washing contributes very strongly. 

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