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ITM brings together antibiotics experts to translate research into policy

The event takes place from 5 to 7 December in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Image 1/1 : Lab technician

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global public health. Experts from around the world will share their scientific findings about antibiotic resistance during the 59th Colloquium of the Institute of Tropical Medicine. The event takes place from 5 to 7 December in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and is jointly organised by ITM's Cambodian partner organisations.

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem and it is rising rapidly, especially in places where antibiotics are used on a large scale in health care and agriculture without prescription or proper monitoring.

"If we do not act quickly, antibiotics will cease to be effective, today’s treatable infections will become dangerous again and advanced medicine will become impossible (for example transplantations and cancer treatment). Research into antibiotic resistance is being carried out in various areas, but it is important that these findings also turn into policies, especially in those countries where the problem is most acute. That is why we bring together these experts in Phnom Penh and focus on the Mekong region," says ITM’s Prof Jan Jacobs, co-chair of the conference.

Antimicrobial resistance requires a multisectoral approach involving human and animal health as well as agriculture and animal husbandry. During the Colloquium, scientists present the latest research results of the various fields and discuss how their research can be translated into policy. They will also make the link with sociological and anthropological components that play a role in these sectors. The content of the Colloquium is based on the strategic objectives defined by the World Health Organization to combat antibiotic resistance: improved awareness, stronger research & surveillance, reduction of infections through good hygiene, optimal use of antibiotics and sustainable investments in new medicines, diagnostics and vaccines.

“This Colloquium is a unique opportunity to gather experts from around the world to discuss this global challenge and to identify common goals,” says Prof Chhea Chhorvann, Director from the National Institute of Public Health and co-chair of the event. “We need not only scientific knowledge, but also strong leadership at all levels and in all sectors to tackle this threat.”

The Colloquium is the annual scientific conference of ITM, organised alternately in Antwerp or in an ITM partner country. This year ITM is joining forces with its Cambodian partners: National Institute of Public Health, the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs and the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control. The Colloquium is held in Phnom Penh with financial support from the Belgian Development Cooperation.

Since 1959, the ITM Colloquia have brought together thousands of experts from the North and the South to discuss the most pressing scientific issues on tropical medicine and international health. This 59th edition is no exception. Antibiotic resistance, the conference theme, is one of the most challenging health problems of our time.


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