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Martin Boeree, President of the FESTMIH and the fifth ECTMIH

Zeno Bisoffi, President-Elect of the FESTMIH and President of the sixth ECTMIH – Esther Jurgens, advisor of the FESTMIH and the NVTG

‘All these congresses! Every week I receive announcements for conferences around the globe! If I wanted I could travel all year around. To be honest, I prefer attending more specific congresses within my own field. They reach greater depth than all these general meetings.’

‘Well’, responds a scientist to his colleague, ‘you are right that we could fill a great deal of our agenda with congresses and visit the most exotic places. However, I disagree with your opinion. A multi-disciplinary congress can be very fruitful and inspiring. Many new interdisciplinary initiatives are born from these meetings. Some meetings do go into a subject profoundly, and some are more aimed at linking the different scientists and policy makers. We learned that from our past experience with the previous four European Congresses in Tropical Medicine and International Health’.

European tradition

  1. Top of page
  2. European tradition
  3. Dutch approach/flavour
  4. The theme: innovation and partnership
  5. Innovative programme

During 24–28 May 2007, the fifth European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health will take place in Amsterdam. The event sets the tradition for European scientific congresses on tropical medicine and international health. The Congress ‘Partnership and Innovation in Global Health’ is (jointly) organized by the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health (FESTMIH) and the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health (NVTG). In 1995, the first of this series of congresses took place in Hamburg; an event during which the Federation was founded. Ten years later, the Federation looks back at four successful congresses and is determined to keep up this tradition of offering a platform to network, to present latest developments and to stimulate discussions on health priorities and health strategies.

At the past European Congresses, in Hamburg, Liverpool, Lisbon and Marseille, interdisciplinary experts assembled around topics including malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, other endemic and neglected diseases, and public health. The growing number of participants, including researchers and policy-makers from the South, underlines the need for its interdisciplinary approach and for a European platform for innovation. We are convinced that exploring boundaries of tropical medicine and linking biomedical and public health approaches will further develop international health. Whilst planning for Amsterdam 2007, preparations are already underway for the Sixth European Congress of TM and IH in Verona in 2009, which will focus on ‘Equity and access to health care’. The Verona meeting is being organized by the Società Italiana di Medicina Tropicale (SIMET, President Prof. Giancarlo Majori).

Dutch approach/flavour

  1. Top of page
  2. European tradition
  3. Dutch approach/flavour
  4. The theme: innovation and partnership
  5. Innovative programme

Amsterdam was a logical choice for hosting the Fifth Congress, given the centennial anniversary of the NVTG in 2007. For almost 100 years the NVTG aims at contributing to the improvement of the healthcare status of poor population groups in middle-and-low-income countries. The Society supports and stimulates research, education and the exchange of knowledge in the field of tropical medicine and international health care.

To commemorate the centennial anniversary, the NVTG host several sessions, organized by several working groups of the Society, such as the Working Group on Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health and the Working Group for Young Scientists. The NVTG is organizing a ‘Dutch Day’ on Saturday 26 May 2007, which will finish with an international celebration with music and a buffet in the centre of Amsterdam.

The theme: innovation and partnership

  1. Top of page
  2. European tradition
  3. Dutch approach/flavour
  4. The theme: innovation and partnership
  5. Innovative programme

‘Partnership and Innovations in Global Health’ was chosen to symbolize two objectives: to offer the floor for breakthroughs in basic science such as molecular biology and genetics, and to provide up-to-date information on the current and perspective impact of these advances in the field. There are several plenary and parallel sessions on various aspects of the poverty related diseases malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. Naturally, many sessions will be on traditional tropical and neglected diseases. Leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, amoebiasis and the like are scientifically explored for laymen and specialists. Furthermore the congress will address broader topics, including health sector reform, sexual and reproductive health (beyond STD management), child health, resources for health (how to achieve equitable financing), travel medicine, cultural and social dimensions in health, gender and health, impact of conflict and war in the tropics.

Increasingly, partnerships are being enforced or seen as essential in establishing links between southern researchers and the North, with European institutes for training and research. In this way an opportunity for cross-fertilization is being given following the philosophy of institutions such as EDCTP.

Innovative programme

  1. Top of page
  2. European tradition
  3. Dutch approach/flavour
  4. The theme: innovation and partnership
  5. Innovative programme

The 4-day scientific congress offers an interesting and varied programme with plenary and parallel sessions, workshops and satellite symposia. International experts will host interactive ‘Meet the Professor’ sessions, for students and young professionals in international health. ‘Where Are We’ sessions will provide quick updates on topics of general interest such as TB, HIV/AIDS and dengue. At the conference site there will be an exhibition of poster presentations and organized poster walks, enabling participants to meet and discuss with the authors at leisure. The best posters will be selected for the FESTMIH poster prizes. The Federation encourages member societies and scientific networks such as DENFRAME, BioMalPar, and the Netherlands Platform of TB Research, to present themselves during these 4 days and organize (side) meetings, round table discussions and workshops. Last but not least, the conference site and the location in Amsterdam specifically is a good place for networking and informal meetings.

You can find the large variety of topics on the website: http://www.trop-amsterdam2007.com. Through this site your abstracts can be submitted and you can register.

A tradition is being continued. Amsterdam 2007 is a forum for scientists in the modern way: with multidisciplinary partnerships and consecutive innovations. We hope to make a modest contribution to the fight against poverty-related and neglected diseases in their context of health care in low-income countries.