On one side a tropical paradise, on the other, the municipality of Ipojuca, home to the famous Porto de Galinhas beach, registered 44 leishmaniasis cases. Under this scenario, about a thousand people were present during the Worldleish 5 – the Fifth World Congress on Leishmaniasis – opening ceremony on th e last Monday morning, May 13th, at the Enotel Resort’s Convention Center.
WL5 is a 5 day event gathering entomologists, epidemiologists, immunologists, biologists, physicians and pathologists from 44 countries, besides people interested in the theme: Leishmania.
The chairman of the Organizing Committee, Dr. Sinval Pinto Brandão Filho, stated that despite the two years of hard work organizing the conference, the challenge was especially satisfying and the arduous work and dedication were worth doing. “This was reflected in the support we had by gathering so many people. The Worldleish’s fifth edition beat all previous records. 1.426 abstracts were received by over 1.200 participants, which was far more than the expected”, he said.
During his opening speech, Dr. Sinval remembered that the leishmaniasis are a zoonosis with an animal reservatory, what makes its elimination impossible. “This is why it is essential to define guidelines towards the control”, he emphasized. He also remembered that research on the parasite Leishmania and the diseases it causes point to a large increase for the last decade. “In fact, they have proven that they are interesting models for the parasite-host study and vector-host interaction, immune response mechanisms, molecular biology, genetics, epidemiology and many other related fields of study”.
The president to the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (BSTM), Carlos Costa, emphasized that Worldleish 5 must bring up good science and good answers to control the Leishmaniasis. In his speech, Costa reaffirmed the expectation that with the knowledge exchange and collaboration we might learn more about controlling – not only this disease that might be an indication of how we can advance – but many other tropical diseases. “This is particularly important in this nation, this Country, with all due respect of the others, but the most prominent tropical country in the world need to learn how to develop good science, with good institutions, to do the best for the tropics. Because everything that is well done here, will be irradiated to all tropical countries that suffer with so much poverty”, he finished.
We are the country with most researchers in Leishmaniasis in the world and that registers a great number of cases. The Leishmania is example for studies, and Worldleish 5 must encourage the discovery of new tools to help controlling the disease in the world. To the president of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Paulo Gadelha, the event is a way of emphasizing the Brazilian commitment in facing this disease that is challenging in many aspects.
Research on leishmanisis has been funded by the Brazilian Governement. According to the Leishmaniasis National Controller from the Health Ministry (HM), Ricardo Marins, in 2012 USD 9 million were designated to this research area. “We know it is not enough, but until we have a globally expressive leishmaniasis research group, we must potentiate the use of these resources and count on the collaboration of the international scientific community, in order to have faster answers and this way reduce the disease’s impact on the poorest populations, changing this neglected disease aspect.
In his speech, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Daniel Argaw, quoted the Leishmaniasis Control Program as one of the great accomplishments of the last decades, besides the National Resolution – a program that encourages the member States to include problems related to this disease in their agendas. Other highlighted advance was the Regulation – here, the countries must develop their own leishmaniasis control programs. Argaw remembered that there is a new paradigm: developing countries are enhancing their surveillance programs – once very poor. “Great progress was achieved during the last few years, as people and management were qualified, besides operational research and discussion from various countries”, He commemorated this audibly;.
Tribute – On behalf of the organizing committee Claude Pirmez coordinated tributes to several scientists who dedicated their lives to the leishmanisis research, among them, Alda Falcão, José Wellington, Mauro Marzochi, Gabriel Grimaldi, Anthony Bryceson, Douglas Barker and John David and Jeffrey Shaw. Pirmez also remembered five deceased icons: Ítalo de Araújo Sherlock, Almério de Castro Gomes, Richard Titus, Alexandre Afrânio Peixoto and Jeffrey Shaw paid a special tribute to Robert Killick-Kendrick and presented his wife and two daughters with his award.
The event: The Worldleish 5 program includes 43 oral sessions and 14 satellite symposia, 21 special hot-spots sessions that were based on topics demanding more focus, challenges, or were considered controversial. At all, 962 posters will be exposed in three night sessions. Other than this, some posters were especially chosen to be part of the Thinking Boxes, were they will be discussed in round tables.