International, regional and national public health experts will gather in Dhaka on January 28-30 to discuss challenges and solutions of typhoid fever, cholera, malnutrition and other enteric diseases in low and middle-income countries in an era of humanitarian crisis.
icddr,b, supported by the government of Bangladesh, World Health Organisation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will organise the 15th Asian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition (ASCODD) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel beginning on Tuesday.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque will inaugurate the conference as the chief.
This was announced at a ‘Meet the Press’ event held at the hotel on Sunday.
The conference focuses on the latest developments in vaccine development and issues in enteric infections, nutrition, policy and practice.
It includes four symposia on subjects of global interest - Typhoid conjugate vaccine: Prospects for use in Asia and Africa; Ending cholera 2030: Initiatives and challenges; Environmental enteropathy, gut microbiota and childhood malnutrition; and Antimicrobial Resistance and its impact on treatment of enteric infections.
Diarrhoeal diseases are still the third leading cause of child mortality globally. In 2017, about 1.6 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases. In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa most deaths from diarrhoea occur among children less than 2 years of age, said a press release.
Over half of the world’s children impacted by nutritional wasting (26.9 million) live in South Asia. Of the three countries that are home to almost half (47.2 percent) of all stunted children or children who are short for their age, two are in Asia: India (46.6 million) and Pakistan (10.7 million).
In Bangladesh, 31 percent of children under 5 are stunted, 9 percent are severely stunted, 8 percent are waste (low weight for height) and 22 percent are underweight, the release said.
At the same time, among the overweight children 5.4 million and 4.8 million are in South and East Asia respectively. The whole region is suffering from a double burden of malnutrition.
An estimated 11–20 million people suffer from typhoid fever. In South Asia, typhoid fever is the most common bloodstream infection. The environment is conducive to the transmission of typhoid fever because of rapid unplanned urbanisation, urban-rural disparities, poor access to improved water and sanitation facilities, and the common practice of open defecation.
Over 450 researchers, health care professionals, vaccinologists, nutrition experts, policymakers and programme persons from 18 countries will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise both during and outside the formal scientific sessions.