Colloquium ‘Moving targets: parasites, resistance and access to drugs’. Antwerp, Belgium, 4–6 December 2000

For more than 40 years the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp) has been organizing an annual colloquium on a topic of public health importance in developing countries. Each time the aim is to provide an up-to-date overview of the problem and possible solutions by bringing together leading experts, health professionals and scientists from north and south. This year the colloquium is jointly organized by the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and will focus on issues related to the treatment of major tropical diseases. More specifically, the colloquium will focus on the ever-increasing problem of drug resistance in malaria and other diseases, the lack of safe and efficacious drugs for neglected diseases such as trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis and the limited access to existing or new drugs for many people in the developing world. The Organizing Committee cordially invites you to join this 42nd International Colloquium of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, to be held in Antwerp on December 4–6, 2000.

Scientific Programme

The colloquium has two closely related objectives. One is to review key aspects linked to the rise and spread of drug resistance in four major parasitic diseases, namely malaria, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and helminthiasis. The other is to review and discuss the biomedical and socio-economic factors limiting the development of new molecules and the access of populations to efficacious drugs. The desired outcomes are tentative guidelines for policies in current drug use and future drug development and a set of suggestions aimed at tackling/reducing the problem of drug resistance. Priority research areas will be identified.

The evolution of resistance to drugs commonly used against parasitic diseases represents one of the most important factors thwarting effective disease control programmes. Increased resistance to commonly used antimalarial drugs will result in a substantial increase in mortality and morbidity, and with the possible exception of artemisinin derivatives, resistance has emerged to every antimalarial. However, ever fewer resources are being invested in the development of new drugs. The often poor quality of drugs available on local markets is an additional problem that might increase the selection of resistant strains and decrease the access of local population to efficacious treatments. This colloquium will create the opportunity for interaction between health professionals across disciplines and diseases. The organization of the colloquium is thematic. Five major topics will be covered by invited speakers:

  • Importance and history of drug resistance, with a review of the current situation;

  • Spread of resistance and monitoring with particular emphasis on modelling, known factors for the spread of resistance, methods for its monitoring and their interpretation;

  • Prevention and control of drug resistance through drug policy: difficulties and constraints for change;

  • Drug availability, particularly drug production, quality control and supply, and

  • Research and development of new drugs, taking into account the point of view of international health organizations and that of the drug industry.

These themes will also be covered in poster sessions, for which we would like to invite all interested partners to submit their contribution. Persons wishing to present a poster are invited to submit a 300-word abstract before 31 August 2000 to the colloquium secretariat.

The official language will be English. The registration fee is BEF 7000 (get-together included) or BEF 3500 for students (ITM students BEF 2500). For more information, or to register, please contact the Colloquium Secretariat: Danielle Van Melle, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, 2000, Antwerp, Belgium. Tel.: + 32 3247 62 06; Fax: + 32 3247 62 13. E-mail:, or contact the Scientific Office at the same address: Chantal Van Overmeir, Tel.: + 32 3247 63 61; Fax: + 32 3247 63 62. E-mail: Website information and registration is available at http://