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The Society for AIDS in Africa, organizers of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) and its partners, the World Health Organization, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Ministry of Health Ghana and the Netherland Embassy, organized the 3rd SAA Symposium 2016. The Symposium was held in Accra, Ghana, from the 4th – 5th August, 2016 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. The theme for the Symposium: “Africa’s preparedness for emerging viral infections: Lessons from HIV/EBOLA and the outlook for Zika & Lassa.” This symposium was the first of its kind across the continent of Africa. The Symposium brought together various experts including public health specialists, researchers, epidemiologists, medical practitioners, policy makers and civil society to share experiences, latest information and impact on the global agenda to pre-empt the spread of emerging viral diseases on the continent.
Since its inception SAA opted for the Symposium planning Committee to steer the affairs of the symposium. The Planning Committee was made up of representatives of the World Health Organization, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, The United Nations Population Fund, The United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS, University of Ghana, Legon, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, University of Allied Health Sciences, Ho, University of Cape coast, the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research In Tropical Medicine, Ghana Health Service, The Netherlands Embassy and USAID. The coordination was done by the Society for AIDs in Africa Permanent Secretariat, Accra-Ghana.
The Scientific Planning Committee under the leadership of Prof. William Ampofo from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Prof. Seni Kouanda, the Secretary General of the Society for AIDS in Africa, were given the mandate to chair the scientific program of the symposium. The Committee developed the theme, goal and the objectives of the symposium. They also reviewed all abstract submissions of which the best were selected for oral presentations.
The symposium thus seeks to analyse current scientific and epidemiological evidence in humans, animals and the environment under the ‘One Health’ concept. The Symposium enabled critical discussions on resource mobilization and systems strengthening for an effective epidemic response. The deliberations on improved strategies for prevention and socio cultural communication for impact mitigation in affected urban and rural communities. Sessions on advocacy, policy, research, monitoring and evaluation promoted suitable models best informed by current evidence and recent lessons learned. More than 250 participants attended the symposium and the SAA recruited 29 volunteers to help in the organization of the symposium. The Symposium would not have been a success without the commitment of WHO, The Netherlands Embassy, The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Ministry of Health Ghana, CDC, Mylan, JICA, UNFPA,UNAIDS and the participants coming from Africa and over the world which we will like to acknowledge in this report.