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Highlight: IDRC at the World Congress on Public Health 2015


The 14th World Congress on Public Health was held from February 11 to 15, 2015, at Science City, Kolkata, India.This year's theme was "Healthy People – Healthy Environment." The Indian Public Health Organization and the World Federation of Public Health Associations co-organized the event. With the participation of 1,650 health experts from 70 countries, the congress provided an opportunity for the global public health community to celebrate successes, identify challenges, and debate pressing global health issues. 

IDRC supported the participation of several researchers involved in IDRC-funded projects in Asia. The Centre also provided financial and technical support to the congress for two sessions: 

Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases – Ebola: regional response and preparedness

This session was moderated by IDRC Senior Program Officer, Arlyne Beeche. The speakers discussed the importance of socio-cultural considerations in the current Ebola outbreak and the Nigerian case. Nigeria's success in controlling Ebola depended on a great number of factors including: social mobilization, education, creation of helplines, patient tracing, political will, stakeholder coordination, assistance in quick deliveries from laboratories, use of social media for awareness, case registration and follow up, and communication tools such as radio jingles and internet messages.

Role of policy interventions in non-communicable disease prevention

This pre-congress session was chaired and co-chaired by Anindya Chatterjee, Director of IDRC's Asia Regional Office, and Damodar Bachani, Deputy Commissioner, Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The speakers spoke about the risk factors of non-communicable diseasesand described taxation structures and intervention strategies designed to prevent them. They highlighted best practices in Thailand, which has an effective taxation policy in place, and cited examples of effective interventions in countries like Finland, Poland, and Mauritius.

Meet some of the IDRC grantees who participated in the congress

G. U. Ahsan:

Dean, School of Health and Life Sciences and Chairman, Department of Public Health, North South University, Bangladesh

An expert in epidemiology, Ahsan shared the results of IDRC-supported research in Dhaka. This research found that simple measures—such asreducing the availability of water containers where large amounts of the dengue vector, the Aedes mosquito, breed—could have a significant positive impact on dengue epidemics in Dhaka.


Fang Jing:

Director of the Institute for Health Sciences, Kunming Medical University, Yunnan Province, China.

An expert in public health and preventive medicine, Fang showcased research on controlling the use of pesticides in agriculture and reducing their negative health effects. This work is part of a multi-country initiative to inform strategies for improved health and environment in Southeast Asia. 



Monika Arora:

Director, Health Promotion and Adjunct Associate Professor, Public Health Foundation of India.

An expert in adolescent health and prevention of non-communicable diseases, she discussed the outcomes of research on alcohol control in India. Arora hopes to expand the scope of this work, through partnerships and multi-stakeholder coordination to help achieve the global target of reducing NCDs by 25% by 2025.


Minu Sharma:

Social Scientist, National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Centre, Nepal.

Sharma spoke about research on food- and water-borne diseases that spread from animals to humans. This research has helped to formulate national policy guidelines to combat illnesses, such as gastro intestinal disease, in Nepal.



Wiku Adisasmito:

Professor of Health Policy, University of Indonesia.

A veterinarian and an expert on environmental health, epidemiology, and policy, Adisasmito shared progress of an IDRC-supported consortium of research centres in China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam focusing on the links between changing agricultural practices and human health.

Boualam Khamlome:

Technical staff, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health, Laos.

An expert in the field of communicable disease control, Khamlome shared the results of research on a strategy for the prudent use of antimicrobials to control antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals in Laos.

Learn more about the World Congress on Public Health 2015