ASLM2016 scientific conference to identify health threats and accelerate local solutions; abstract submission period opens 4 March 2016.

PRESS RELEASE: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (9 February 2016): Laboratory services are a cornerstone of health systems and indispensable to global health security. Medical laboratories play a pivotal role in disease diagnosis and management, surveillance, and outbreak investigation. Laboratories in Africa, however, cannot meet local demand or growing health priorities resulting in underdeveloped healthcare services for Africa’s 1 billion citizens. In today’s interconnected world, challenges that arise in communities with underdeveloped health systems can quickly spread to threaten even the most advanced systems.

More than 1,500 local and international stakeholders will gather at the ASLM2016 conference in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3-8 December 2016, to share best practices and debate innovative approaches for meeting modern day global health priorities in Africa.

“The ASLM2016 conference aims to inform attendees of the innovative programmes and diagnostic technologies capable of strengthening laboratory quality in Africa to efficiently identify emerging diseases (such as Ebola), monitor outbreaks, address drug resistance, and maintain the frontlines of an increasingly important global health security agenda,” says conference co-chair, Prof. Anthony Emeribe, Registrar and CEO of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria. “Strong national health systems cannot exist with weak laboratories. Poor health indices in Africa have been a major concern to the global community and if unchecked may continue to provide an enabling environment for epidemics.”

“Resilient tiered laboratory networks coupled with good surveillance strategies are needed to combat global health threats locally in Africa,” confirms conference co-chair, Prof. Wendy Stevens, Professor and Head, Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology, University of the Witwatersrand / South Africa National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). “ASLM2016 will highlight the best and brightest professionals in laboratory medicine, and provide a forum to ensure on-going dialogue between young or experienced professionals, clinicians to bridge the clinical-laboratory interface, and suppliers to expose the audience to the rapid expansion of new technologies.”

The ASLM2016 conference, to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, calls for abstracts specifically designed to prevent, detect, and respond to global health threats and highlight the contribution partnerships can make to accelerate the development of local and global solutions. The regular abstract submission period formally opens 4 March 2016 and closes (extended) 11 May 2016.

Dr. Trevor Peter, ASLM Chair, says, “The ASLM2016 scientific programme aims to provide unique training and learning opportunities for improving the response to global health security threats, non-communicable diseases, and the partnerships aimed at achieving international benchmarks. ASLM2016 maintains the momentum of previous ASLM conferences and intends to reiterate the importance of strong local laboratories in the fight against global health threats across the continent – such as Ebola, drug resistance, and the coming wave on non-infectious diseases.”

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) is an independent, pan-African professional body that coordinates, galvanises, and mobilises relevant stakeholders – local, national, and international – so that together we improve local access to world-class laboratory services and build healthy African communities now and for the long-term.

ASLM2016 (www.ASLM2016.org) is the third biennial international conference of ASLM.