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General Information

This workshop was a follow-up to the very successful first workshop on OAE organised in Antwerp in October 2017. 

The first workshop led to the creation of the OAE alliance. Since then, much progress has been made. However, certain research questions remain to be addressed. In addition, more advocacy is needed to increase awareness of OAE and influence policymakers to take appropriate action to prevent it and support affected communities. Moreover, OAE needs to be taken into account when estimating the burden of disease caused by onchocerciasis. Improved onchocerciasis diagnostic tools and preventive treatment approaches will be needed to meet the WHO targets for onchocerciasis elimination.

  • Organisation committee: Inge Mertens (UA), Joseph Nelson Siewe Fodjo (UA), Amber Hadermann (UA), Luís-Jorge Amaral (UA), Robert Colebunders (UA), Katia Polman (ITM) and Peter Vermeiren (UA).
  • Scientific committee: Maria Rebollo (Global Onchocerciasis Elimination Program, WHO), Nicoline Schiess (Brain Health Unit, WHO), Achim Hoerauf (Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP), University hospital Bonn), Inge Mertens (UA), Joseph Nelson Siewe Fodjo (UA), Sebastian Pion (IRD, Montpellier), Charles Newton (Oxford University), Tom Lakwo (National vector control programme, Uganda), Bruno Mmbando (NIMR, Tanzania), Mark Taylor (Liverpool school of Tropical Medicine), Katja Polman (Institute Tropical Medicine, Antwerp), Marion Darnaud (Bioaster) and Michel Vaillant (Luxembourg Institute of Health).
  • Workshop objective: Exchange recent OAE study findings, define remaining research priorities, identify ways of collaboration and grant opportunities, and plan multi-country studies to answer research gaps.
  • Type of workshop: Hybrid with in-person and remote attendees.  

The workshop presentation slides and recordings are available below, following the title of each presentation. If you have any challenges accessing the content or questions, please contact Luis-Jorge Amaral (

Workshop Programme

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Global Health Institute, Gouverneur Kinsbergen Centrum, Doornstraat 331, 2610 Antwerpen (Wilrijk)

  • 9.00–9.00 Registration
  • 9.45–10.00 Maria Rebollo (WHO): Objectives (No Slides | Recording Minute 13)
  • 10.00–10.20 Charles Newton (Oxford University): Global burden of Epilepsy, main leading causes (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 19)
  • 10.20-10.30 James Sejvar (CDC) Public health significance of some of the global aetiologies of epilepsy (Presentation Slides not available | Recording Minute 61)
  • 10.30–11.00 Sebastien Pion (IRD): Onchocerciasis Associated Epilepsy (OAE): the body of evidence of this association (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 79)
  • 11.00–11.15 Coffee & tea break
  • 11.15–11.45  Amber Hadermann (UA) and Mark Taylor (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine): Pathogenesis of OAE, new perspectives (Presentation Slides Amber & MarkRecording Minute 122)
  • 11.30–12.30 Discussion (Recording Minute 0)
  • 12.30 Lunch

Afternoon Programme: “PhD defences on onchocerciasis and epilepsy (OAE)”

1) At the University of Antwerp (UA), Campus Drie Eiken, O building room 3.

  • ​2.00–4.30 Tom Lakwo (NTD programme, Uganda): The role of entomology in onchocerciasis elimination (Presentation Slides)
  • 5.00–7.30 Dan Bhwana (NIMR): Onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy in the Mahenge area, Tanzania (Presentation Slides)

2) Parallel session: DZIF involvement in the development of new treatments against onchocerciasis and other filariae. Global Health Institute, Gouverneur Kinsbergen Centrum, Doornstraat 331, 2610 Antwerp (Wilrijk)

  • 2.15–2.30 Achim Hoerauf (IMMIP): “Development of new drugs and treatments against onchocerciasis”  (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 14)
  • 2.30–2.45 Ken Pfarr (IMMIP): “Corallopyronin A- a new natural compound against filariae, STI and staphylococci on its way to phase 1”  (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 38)
  • 3.00–3.15 Coffee & tea break
  • 3.15–4.00 Discussion 

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Global Health Institute, Gouverneur Kinsbergen Centrum, Doornstraat 331, 2610 Antwerp (Wilrijk)

  • 9.30–10.00 Brainstorming (Recording Minute 64)
  • 10.00–10.30  Nicoline Schiess (Brain Health Unit, WHO): WHO guidelines for management of epilepsy (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 103)
  • 10.45–11.15 Joseph Nelson Siewe Fodjo (UA): Challenges for epilepsy care/treatment in onchocerciasis endemic regions (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 49)
  • 11.15–11.30 Coffee & tea break
  • 11.30–12.30 Brainstorming: OAE, what does it mean for onchocerciasis and mental health programmes? How to introduce for a morbidity management component in the onchocerciasis program to address OAE? (Presentation Slides | Recording)
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 2.30–2.45 Chiara Trevisan (ITM): Burden of disease - lessons learned from Taenia solium cysticercosis  (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 0)
  • 2.45-3.15 Luis-Jorge Amaral (UA): OAE control interventions and the models to estimate its burden of disease in Africa (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 38 & Recording Minute 0)
  • 3.15–3.45 Brainstorming: Global burden of Disease for onchocerciasis and OAE, data gaps and way forward (Recording Minute 20)
  • 3:45-4.00 Coffee & tea break
  • 4.00–5.00 Formulations conclusions and recommendations (Report soon to be available | Recording Minute 70)

Friday 21 September 2023

  • 10.00 -12.30 Bob: Discussions collaborative research projects, working on a workshop report/paper (Presentation SlidesRecording Minute 0)
  • 12.30 Lunch