Science for action on HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis in EECA

On November 18-19, with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the first scientific workshop EECA INTERACT 2019 on HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) was held in Almaty.

The international event was organized by the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), the Kazakh Scientific Center for Dermatology and Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, non-profit organizations AFEW Kazakhstan and AFEW International.

For two days, more than 100 researchers, representatives of communities and clinicians from Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia and other countries shared their experiences, the latest scientific developments in the field of treatment of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis in order to strengthen the scientific base and improve the situation in the region.

“AFEW has been working in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region for about 20 years and constantly experiences a lack of data on the HIV, TB and viral hepatitis epidemics in the region, – says Anke van Dam, member of the international organizing committee of EECA INTERACT 2019; executive director of AFEW International. These data are needed to develop evidence-based policies and interventions. Through EECA INTERACT, AFEW strives to stimulate and facilitate research in the region. Also our goal is to foster new research interactions among leading investigators and those who represent the potential future scientific leadership for health care and research in the region and to build research and clinical capacity across EECA”.

EECA is the only region in the world where the HIV epidemic is still growing rapidly. UNAIDS estimates that as of 2018, about 1.7 million people in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region are living with HIV. About 38,000 people died from AIDS in 2018.

Significant barriers to prevention and treatment services remain for people living with and affected by HIV, TB, and hepatitis across the region. For example, although the HIV epidemic in EECA is concentrated predominantly among key populations, particularly among people who inject drugs, coverage of harm-reduction and other prevention programs is insufficient to reduce new infections. The region urgently needs more effective strategies of prevention, treatment, and care and support that are tailored to the particular circumstances of individual countries.

“I hope EECA INTERACT will become an effective forum for discussion, the issues raised at scientific discussions, the exchange of experience, will allow us to put the necessary emphasis on the near and long-term prospects, and familiarize a wide circle of participants with new methods, developments and approaches on these issues. The abstracts will be appreciated, feedback will be established, the scientific community and the geography of further cooperation and investment will expand. This activity is necessary to achieve UNAIDS goals 90-90-90”, says Bauyrzhan Bayserkin, head of the local committee of the EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop; Doctor of Medical Sciences; Director of the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

EECA INTERACT 2019 took an innovative approach by bringing together experts in HIV, TB, and hepatitis to participate in the International Conference Committee developing the scientific program.

It included experts in the field of HIV, TB and hepatitis from around the world, including Michel Kazatchkine, UNAIDS Special Advisor on HIV, TB and Hepatitis in the EECA region; Catherine Hankins, professor, Deputy Director, Science at AIGHD, co-chair of the annual INTEREST conference; Alexey Alexandrov, head physician of the Minsk Regional Clinical Center “Psychiatry-Narcology”; Sergey Dvoryak, founder and senior scientist, UIPHP, professor at the department of social work, and many others.

EECA INTERACT will be an annual event and will be held in different countries of the EECA region to enable scientists from all countries to demonstrate their discoveries.

See more pictures here.

 

 

 

EECA INTERACT 2019 online

In a few days, the first scientific workshop EECA INTERACT 2019 will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan! On November 18-19, researchers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia will arrive at the hotel Mercure Almaty City Center to present their research on HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

Attention!
For those who couldn’t attend the workshop we will arrange online streaming on AFEW International Facebook page! The opening ceremony is 10.00 am, local time.

The workshop program is available here.

Video Records will also be available at www.AFEW.org (EECA INTERACT 2019).

Follow EECA INTERACT 2019 on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

#EECAINTERACT2019
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EECA INTERACT is a step towards the development of unified community

Why is the Workshop EECA INTERACT so important for the EECA region?

Alexei Alexandrov, a member of the international committee of EECA INTERACT 2019, head of Minsk regional clinical centre “Psychiatry-narcology”.

EECA INTERACT can become a model for building regional and country interaction between young and experienced researchers, medical practitioners, employees of non-governmental organizations and members of community initiatives, as well as representatives of the government.

All these specialists are involved in solving the problems of HIV infection, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, and also related problems of drug use, criminalization, prison health, stigma and human rights. The exchange of experience by specialists from EECA countries with similar situations on HIV, TB, Hep, drug use, the results of new studies and expert assessments will allow choosing the best solutions to change the situation and begin to really implement them.

For me, EECA INTERACT is not only a meeting with new colleagues and getting acquainted with the results of their work, discussing pressing issues, forming direct contacts to continue cooperation or a network of interaction. The seminar is a continuation of the efforts that we, experts of the EECA countries, are directing to respond to the HIV epidemic in the region, implementation of those innovations that have already been tested in the world and are evidence-based.

The workshop is a step towards the development of a unified scientific, expert and practical community of our countries, united by common tasks. Everyone can have their own vision of the situation, challenges and solutions, but only joint discussion and analysis will allow finding potential points of influence for success.

 

How would you rate the development of clinical and research networks in the EECA region today?

Sergii Dvoriak, a member of the international committee of EECA INTERACT 2019, M.D., D.Med.Sci, founder and senior scientist, UIPHP, professor at the department of social work, ALSRT.

In our region, a lot of problems are associated with the traditions and imperfections of medical education. For several years I conducted training seminars “Effective Treatment of Drug Dependence” in Salzburg (organized by the Open Society Foundation), where all participants, mainly doctors, were divided into 2 groups, the Russian-speaking from EECA and the English-speaking from Southeast Asia and Africa. People from EECA were educated in the “Soviet” system, the others – in the “Western”.

I noticed a very clear difference in the methods for solving clinical problems. People from EECA went into “philosophy” and the so-called pathogenetic way of thinking, and “Western” immediately appealed to existing protocols and standards, objective data, etc. I then realized that many of our specialists need to be retrained and they should focus on evidence-based methods, and not on general considerations and “clinical points of view.” For this, we need such meetings like EECA INTERACT, where these points can be emphasized. It is important also that decision-makers participate in such events.

In Ukraine over the past 10 years, significant progress has been made in the development of clinical and research links. To some extent, a solid research infrastructure has been created, several organizations were found which can not only participate in international collaborative projects but also independently carry out research and receive funding from donors such as National Institutes of Health, CDC, WHO etc. Unfortunately, national donors are still very sparingly involved in this process.

Ministry of Health also does not understand enough how important the systematic and continuous process of conducting scientific research is, and the importance of implementation projects is underestimated.

Officials believe that only mainly state institutions have the right to make scientific research. They expect global discoveries or creation of new vaccines, effective drugs, but they do not really understand that in the modern world only a limited number of countries and companies are able to take such steps. There are no such resources in EECA countries, but this does not mean that research is not needed. Doctors should be involved in scientific projects as much as possible, because this disciplines clinical thinking, makes it possible to get acquainted with the modern scientific context.

 

 

 

 

What to expect from EECA INTERACT 2019?

How do such events like EECA INTERACT affect the health sector?

Cate Hankins, professor, co-chair of EECA INTERACT and co-chair of the annual INTEREST Conference

The format of EECA INTERACT builds on the successful model of the INTEREST Conference, held in a different country in Africa each year. INTEREST began in 2007 and has become the premier scientific conference on HIV in Africa, drawing an increasing number of abstract submissions and registrations year-over-year. The conference brings together world-renowned HIV experts and young African researchers with the overall goal of contributing to building the next generation of African scientists and facilitating networking opportunities in the field of HIV.

Today’s health challenges transcend traditional disease boundaries, so we need an interdisciplinary approach to explore tangible solutions to fully address these epidemics. Using the INTEREST Conference model, EECA INTERACT will provide a platform for researchers and practitioners from different fields to interact and develop strategies that will effectively halt the growing numbers of infections in this region. Ultimately, we hope this two-day workshop will help us move towards new effective treatment and prevention strategies.

 

What are the main objectives of EECA INTERACT 2019?

Anke van Dam, member of the international organizing committee of EECA INTERACT 2019; executive director of AFEW International.

AFEW experiences a lack of data on the HIV, TB and viral hepatitis epidemics in the EECA region. Data are needed to develop evidence-based policies and interventions. Through EECA INTERACT, AFEW strives to stimulate and facilitate research in the region.

Also, the objectives of EECA INTERACT 2019 are:

  • To provide cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of epidemiology (modelling), treatment, pathogenesis, and prevention of HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis as well as chronic conditions;
  • To exchange ideas on providing and supporting HIV testing services and clinical care provision to adults, adolescents, and children living with HIV to achieve 90-90-90 goals;
  • To foster new research interactions among leading investigators and those who represent the potential future scientific leadership for health care and research in the region;
  • To build research and clinical capacity across EECA.

Why do researchers need to participate in the EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop?

Bauyrzhan Satzhanovich Bayserkin, head of the local committee of EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop; Doctor of Medical Sciences, Director of the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases (Kazakhstan) talks why researchers should participate in the EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop.

What do EECA researchers need today? First of all, it is the intensification of scientific discussions, improving the quality and effectiveness of research results, the exchange of experience, also with practitioners, as well as the timely tracking of new methods, developments in medicine and related disciplines.

It is assumed that the participant’s research work will be tested at the seminar; scientists, colleagues, and practitioners will discuss it and give their feedback, the network of the participant will expand. Researchers can get a job in the future, they can count on mutual assistance in research activities, communication with more experienced conference participants from other countries.

Also, within the framework of the seminar, specialists participating in the conference will ask colleagues some questions about the abstracts that need to be discussed. Such work will indicate inaccurate formulations or incorrect accents, demonstrate “white spots” in activities, and establish a discussion. Discussions and questions will indicate the relevance of the topic. All these things together will contribute to the personal and professional growth of the participants. Also, participants will have the opportunity to expand the geography of their publications, citation index, etc.

In addition, representatives of third-party organizations that will attend the workshop may be interested in further cooperation, investment, etc.

All this will contribute to the improvement and strengthening of the healthcare system and civil society.

More about the workshop read here

#EECAINTRACT

 

 

 

 

Facts abour EECA region

HIV epidemic status in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (UNAIDS, 2017)

Since the start of the epidemic:
• Over 76 million HIV-infected patients registered
• 35.0 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses
• The number of people living with HIV was 36.7 million, of which 2.1 million were children under the age of 15.
• 20.9 million people (28%) living with HIV received treatment
• 76% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to treatment to prevent transmission of the virus to the fetus
• In 2017, 1.8 million new HIV infections were reported worldwide.

Have you already registered your abstracts for the EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop?

Attention! Selected abstracts will get free registration. Please find here more information. 

Open call for abstracts EECA INTERACT Workshop 2019

EECA INTERACT Workshop is pleased to announce that abstract submission for the Almaty workshop to be held 18-19 November 2019 is open! Deadline for submission: 20 September 2019.

Researchers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) are invited to submit their scientific abstracts to participate in the two-day Workshop. EECA INTERACT 2019 will bring scientists, clinicians, members of civil society, and government officials together to tackle topics facing individual countries while building capacity and strengthening research and clinical networks. The two-day conference will address topics that are specifically relevant to EECA and will dive deeply into particularities of both Central Asia and the host country, Kazakhstan, showcasing successes, remaining challenges, and responses.

We invite researchers to submit their abstract on one of the following topics:

Health and science

  • Antiretroviral treatment and HIV care
  • Basic science and HIV cure
  • Tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV co-infections, including sexually transmitted infections
  • HIV and co-morbidities
  • HIV prevention including HIV vaccines and antibodies
  • Socio-behavioural research
  • Laboratory monitoring/diagnostics
  • PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
  • Paediatrics and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
  • Epidemiology

Society and science

  • Community/civil society engagement in research
  • Information technology innovations for HIV
  • Key Populations: prevention and treatment challenges
  • Regulatory, ethical, and research conduct issues
  • Women and HIV
  • Stigma and discrimination

Policy and science

  • Health system strengthening
  • Knowledge translation to policy and programming
  • Economics, innovative financing, development goals
  • Implementation science, cost-effectiveness, and modelling

 

We encourage researchers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to submit their abstracts. The online application is until 20 September 2019.

You can download the complete call here and apply by sending your abstract to eecainteract@AFEW.nl with your last name and date in the subject.

After the application deadline, your abstract will be reviewed and you will receive an e-mail.

#EECAINTRACT2019

If you have any further questions, please contact Helena_arntz@AFEW.nl.

EECA INTERACT 2019 is organized by AFEW International, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health & Development (AIGHD), AFEW Kazakhstan and the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases.

SponsorsJohnson & Johnson, Gilead, Aidsfonds.

Venue of the event: Hotel Mercure Almaty City Center.

#EECAINTRACT

 

 

 

EECA INTERACT 2019. Registration for applicants without a research abstract

Registration for the EECA INTERACT 2019 workshop continues. Those who do not have a research abstract can also attend the event. To do this, please fill in an application form and send it to eecainteract@AFEW.nl.

Remind you that the first EECA INTERACT 2019 Workshop will be held on the 18-19th of November 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

This is an abstract-driven workshop focusing on factors unique to the region’s HIV, TB, and hepatitis epidemics. EECA INTERACT 2019 will bring scientists, clinicians, members of civil society, and government officials together to tackle topics facing individual countries while building capacity and strengthening research and clinical networks.

The workshop objectives are

  1. To provide cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of epidemiology (modelling), treatment, pathogenesis, and prevention of HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis as well as chronic conditions;
  2. To exchange ideas on providing and supporting HIV testing services and clinical care provision to adults, adolescents, and children living with HIV to achieve 90-90-90 goals;
  3. To foster new research interactions among leading investigators and those who represent the potential future scientific leadership for health care and research in the region;
  4. To build research and clinical capacity across EECA.

Please download

Application form without abstracts (Eng)

EECA INTERACT 2019 is organized by AFEW International, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health & Development (AIGHD), AFEW Kazakhstan and the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases.

EECA INTERACT 2019 is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Gilead, Aidsfonds.

Venue of the event: Hotel Mercure Almaty City Center.

#EECAINTRACT2019