inqaba biotec™ East Africa attended the 7th East Africa Health and Scientific Conference (EAHSC) from 27 – 29th March 2019. A fascinating conference held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam. The event was organised by the East African Community (EAC) which is coordinated by the east African health research commission (EAHRC). The commission is tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the East African Health and Scientific Conferences, International Health Exhibitions and Trade Fairs to strengthen regional cooperation in healthcare. This year was a great success with delegates and plenary speakers travelling from local regions in Tanzania, and international regions like Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Congo, South Africa, India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway and Australia.
In addition to healthcare professionals, ministry officials from the region and scientists, representatives from USAID, WHO, UN and Vital Wave attended the conference. Vital wave provides ICT solutions and were appointed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide Mobile Solutions for HIV and Malaria Elimination Surveillance Systems.
The 2019 theme for EAHSC focused on the implementation of innovative technologies in healthcare transformation to attain the UN-Sustainable Development Goals. The Keynote Speech Address was presented by Professor Leon Mutesa from the College of Medical and Health Sciences University of Rwanda; “Invest in Digital Health to catalyse East Africa to attain the UN-Sustainable Development Goals”.
Topics covered ICT platforms in healthcare, hospital management and the movement towards electronic health records; digital health and the use of biometrics; mobile healthcare solutions and the application of ICT for diagnostics. A talk presented by Christie Civetta (University of Cambridge, UK), on non-profit tech company Simprints Technology, focused on the implementation of biometrics in healthcare and the benefits to both practitioner and patient . Christine Holst (from Norway) presented on the Free access to e-health information (electronic processes and communication) in Iringa, Tanzania, the development, provision and testing the effect of digital health messages and the impact on rural communities.
Hot topics included blockchain technology in healthcare; the establishment of clinical trial registries in Africa and the security of clinical data; and the management of epidemic-prone diseases. Kyle Hutchinson presented a talk on BroadReach, a management system designed to empower stakeholders in implementing the right actions in cross-border disease epidemics and their management in West Africa.
One of the greatest highlights at conferences like these, is updating oneself on the disease prevalence in the regions. Presentations by researchers enlightened delegates on the prevalence, distribution, development of antimicrobial resistance, characterisation and diagnostic methods, use of pesticides and the impact on the disease progression for common African enteric and vector borne diseases like diarrheagenic E. coli, Vibrio cholerae, Trypanosomes, Plasmodium falciparum, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Cryptosporidium and Giardia. An update on HIV & AIDS management programmes were also discussed, which incorporated web-based platforms to monitor prevalence in demographic regions, diagnostics and the relationship between HIV positive patients and the development of other diseases.
The presentation that made the largest impact on the group was an interesting study on the link between foodborne disease and unhygienic electronic devices, which opted us to disinfect our cell-phones immediately.
As a healthcare exhibitor that offers molecular diagnostic solutions, we shared our on PCR-based technologies as a powerful diagnostic tool that has transformed healthcare system and assisted in attaining the UN-Sustainable development goals. Our diagnostic portfolio includes PCR and automated electrophoresis-based technologies for respiratory, STI and intestinal based disease panels from Seegene, and tropical disease diagnostics from Osang Health Care (Genefinder).