Organised session on "Morbidity Management and Disability prevention for onchocerciasis" during ECTMIH 2019

Every two years, the European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH) brings together more than 1,500 scientists and experts from across the world. The Congress provides a platform for sharing research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health. Contacts are made, networks are strengthened, and new partnerships are formed. It also acts as a forum for reflection on the role of tropical medicine and global health, taking into account the biggest trends of the twenty-first century, such as human migration and climate change.

The 11th edition of ECTMIH will take place from 16 until 20 September 2019 in Liverpool (UK). On Thursday 19 September (10.00-12.30 am) prof. Bob Colebunders and prof. Maria-Gloria Basañez will chair an organised session entitled 'Morbidity Management and Disability prevention for onchocerciasis'. 

Purpose and objective

Although many years of community directed distribution of ivermectin, there is still high Onchocerca volvulus transmission in certain African regions. Moreover, in those regions there is a high prevalence of onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE). Current onchocerciasis elimination programs do not include identification and management of OAE in their strategies. In contrast, the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis has adopted a two-pronged approach which, in addition to deploying mass drug administration, has developed a strategy for morbidity management and disability prevention. In this session we intend to discuss the possibility to establish a similar strategy for onchocerciasis.

Chairs and speakers


MG Basanez,  London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research and MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

R Colebunders,  Global Health Institute, University of Antwep, Belgium


  • JN Siewe Fodjo, Global Health Institute, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Onchocerciasis- associated epilepsy: the epidemiological evidence 15 min

  • A Hotterbeekx Global Health Institute, University of Antwerp, Belgium PhD

Onchocerciasis- associated epilepsy: the pathophysiological mechanism 15 min

  • Charles D Mackenzie NTDSC, Task Force for Global Health, Atlanta, USA,

Caring for patients suffering from filarial infections: lessons learned from Lymphatic Filariasis programmes  15 min

  • A Hopkins and Makoy Y Logora leading panel discussion on “Morbidity Management and Disability prevention for onchocerciasis” 45 min