WAKA HPV Network: HPV in Sub-Saharan Africa
From 28th February up to 4th March 2017 the International Papillomavirus Conference, organized by the International Papilloma Virus Society (IPVS), took place. Although this was already the 31st edition, it was the very first time it was organized on African soil. Over 1300 delegates from 92 countries gathered in Cape Town, South Africa.
This was a perfect opportunity for our WAKA network to be part of this unique and inspiring HPV meeting that covered the entire breadth of HPV science, including basic research, clinical research, and public health/epidemiology. Moreover, we had the opportunity to organize a satellite session with all our WAKA HPV Africa-partners. The Satellite Symposium was intended for all HPV2017 participants interested in HPV and cervical cancer research in the African region, focusing on the possibilities within WAKA HPV Africa and highlighting the current research topics.
An introduction of WAKA HPV Africa was given by Prof. Dr. JP Van geertruyden. An update of each research topic in Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa followed. One focused on the strengths of the WAKA HPV research network and the established HPV reference laboratory in Limpopo (South Africa). The session was closed by the official announcement of the partnership between WAKA and ETTICS, presided by Prof. Dr. JP Bogers (WAKA) and Prof. Dr. M. Von Knebel Doeberitz (ETTICS). Overall, discussions were encouraged with all experts present (pathologists, epidemiologists, microbiologists, vaccinologists, gynecologists, social scientists, …).
The HPV2017 conference was an excellent opportunity to strengthen the network and to give African researchers the chance to present their work to an international audience, as well as to start creating ties with other global players in HPV research. Afterwards delegates were invited to vote for the three best posters in clinical research, public health and basis science. Our PhD student Ms Anayawa Nyambe received the 3rd best poster award in the category ‘Public Health' as a reward for her accomplishments.
The Conference also resulted in “The Cape Town Declaration on the Prevention of Human Papillomavirus Disease” pronounced on the 4th of March 2017. This statement provides an important message about HPV related disease control and requests accessibility and equality in the development of preventative measures around the world.