The AORTIC conference, an important event for all medical disciplines dealing with cancer on the African continent, took place in person again this year. After being held online two years ago, this time experts and specialists from all over the world gathered in the city of Dakar in Senegal. As part of the NORA project, we were also very well represented with posters and presentations.
From November 2 to 6, over 900 people took part in the presentations and workshops in the impressive conference building just outside Dakar. The NORA project had a particularly well-attended slot with numerous visitors. Our days were packed with exciting and varied program items, ranging from topics on tumor biology to the treatment of cancer among nomadic peoples and in crisis areas to issues of sexuality, gender and psycho-oncology. The conference also offered the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with experts. Dr. Pablo Santos, a participant of the conference and part of our team, sums up this event nicely: "AORTIC confirmed for me that it is necessary to bring together scientists, patients and other stakeholders in oncology in one place every now and then, so that enriching exchanges of ideas can take place that would not happen online." The AORTIC conference in Dakar was an inspiring event that reminded us all of the importance of advancing the fight against cancer in Africa. The encounters, discussions and insights will stay with us for a long time and help us to continue our work. We are grateful for this valuable experience and are already looking forward to the next AORTIC conference.
In an increasingly interconnected world, international collaborations are opening up new horizons for medical research. We had the opportunity to speak with one of our Ethiopian PhD student who is currently conducting research at the MLU. Discover more about his motivations, his research work, and the significance of international collaboration in the field of medical science. Continue reading
Strengthening dialogue in global health research: medical scientists from MLU at GLOHRA Day 2023 in Berlin
Bundling ideas on topics such as health literacy research and forwarding them in a future-oriented manner: That is what the scientists and health experts of the Medical Institute of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) were all about on June 19, 2023 at the of the GLOHRA Day 2023 in the Spreespeicher in Berlin.
Over 150 members of the GLOHRA community discussed, networked and presented themselves with more than 20 contributions to current global health research projects and a panel discussion on current project results. In the interactive part "Ask the Community", the participants exchanged views on global health literacy, digital mental health and OneHealth and learned about research communication.
GLOHRA Day 2023 is the annual members' symposium of the German Alliance for Global Health Research, aiming to facilitate the exchange and sharing of knowledge about research and policy of interest to global health research
At the end of April we were able to welcome the breast surgeon Dr. Veronica Afework and Dr. Tesfaye Aga from Addis Ababa for a four-week internship at the University Hospital in Halle. Thanks to the close coordination with the gynecology clinic in the Elisabeth Hospital, the colleagues were able to see several departments at once and see oncological, reconstructive and plastic breast surgery first-hand.
From April 26th to 29th the 12th International Charité Mayo Conference took place. Five Ethiopian colleagues from the HOPE project also had the chance to take part on site. Dr Wondimu Gudu from St. Pauls Hospital in Addis Ababa took the opportunity to present his work to the international research community as part of two posters. Bethel Dereje, Binyam Esayas, Gurmesa Merga, Winta Tsehaye, Wondimu Gudu were accompanied by Dr. Debru Addissae and Dr. Anne Kiefer. A lively exchange took place with the PARSGO initiative. Dr Binyam stayed four more weeks to visit the Gynecology Clinic and Polyclinic.
On March 16th we were happy about the successfully passed doctoral defense of Mr. Sefonias Kelbore "Breast Cancer and Endocrine Therapy Adherence in Ethiopia: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Breast Nurse Intervention". Dr. Sefonias is thus after Dr. Muluken Gizaw is the second colleague from the Public Health Team in Addis Ababa who has successfully completed his doctorate within the framework of this long-term cooperation.
Ms. Abigiya Wondimagegnehu from the Public Health Team in Addis Ababa was in Halle for an eight-week stay to work with the team on site on publications and new project proposals. Ms. Abigiya conducts research on palliative care in rural Ethiopia.
In February, two of our Ethiopian colleagues from the Lab team, Brhanu Teka and Tamrat Abebe, attended the international HPV research conference EUROGIN in Bilbao, Spain. Afterwards, the two spent some time in Halle to discuss the latest results of their research with us and to plan upcoming projects.
Three years after the start of the project at the Else-Kröner Cancer Center in Addis Ababa, project participants from Germany and Ethiopia met on site to jointly assess the progress and achievements. Problems and challenges in implementing the project goals were also discussed.
Dr. Miressa from Harar in the west of Ethiopia spent 2 weeks in the gyneco-oncology department in Freiburg. He is part of the first generation of physicians to establish a center for women’s cancer in eastern Ethiopia. This initiative is part of the Else Kröner Center for Cancer Care in Ethiopia. Gynecologic cancer entities are among the most common in the country and require complex care structures. Dr. En-Nosse, Dr. Runge and Prof. Klar offer opportunities for exchange and workshops at Freiburg University Hospital. Colposcopy, oncological surgery and tumor board are core elements that can be adapted and brought to Harar. "I have learned a lot and take interesting ideas with me" reports Dr. Miressa. The cooperation took place within the framework of funding from the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation and the professional expertise in the AG FIDE (in the German Society of Gynecology).
As part of the ABC-DO project, Dr. Pablo Santos (pictured below right) traveled to Entebbe, Uganda in mid-November to share results from the project with collaborating partners from WHO and various African institutions. The corresponding scientific article (Marcus Bauer et al.) examines molecular aspects of breast cancer and was recently submitted for publication. The meeting was organized by IARC (https://www.iarc.who.int/).
Medical physicist Mr. Ashenafi and radiotherapy technician Mr. Mitiku have been working at Addis Ababa University Hospital for over 10 years. After many years with only one cobalt machine, there has been a modern linear accelerator there for some time. "We are pleased to be able to improve our knowledge on modern equipment as part of the Else Kröner Cancer Center in Halle at the University Hospital. Especially the organizational aspects, difficult radiation concepts and quality assurance were important topics for us." An exchange at eye level has been taking place with the radiotherapy center in Addis since 2010. Now a second group is coming to Halle for 2 weeks this year. Of course they also visited sights in Halle and Berlin and had many nice dinners together!
All other activities around the Else Kröner Cancer Center in Ethiopia can be found here.
The Global Health World Meets in Berlin. Sharing experiences on resilience and solidarity in the face of new challenges was the central theme of the joint conference of the Hospital Partnerships, GLOHRA and EKFS on October 14 and 15, 2022. Among the participating teams were partners from five continents. We represented the AG Global Health from Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg and various Ethiopian institutions with 18 participants.
In panel discussions and topic-related interactive seminars, we were able to share our impressions, experiences, but also challenges and questions with other teams. In particular, the multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach of the conference allowed us to hear different perspectives. At the Clinic Partnerships, whose focus is on German-international collaborations to implement and improve healthcare, we were represented the DINKNESH, HOPE and Gynaecologic Oncology projects. GLOHRA enables young scientists to conduct their own research projects and to be supported by versatile training and networking opportunities, such as a workshop on Systematic Reviews in Global Health organized in Halle in September.
Our team member Muluken Gizaw, PhD had the chance to speak about his experiences in global health research at Saturdays podium discussion: "Knowledge translation/exchange is the core function of the Global Health Working group at Martin Luther University. Most of the implementation research being conducted in Ethiopia by PhD and postdoctoral fellows encompasses community participation to ensure the uptake and translation of the research findings into actions".
Dr. Dawud Muhammed and Dr. Eyaya Misgan visited Freiburg im Breisgau directly after the FIDE meeting. There, the two gynecologists were able to spend a week at the University Hospital in the gyneco-oncology department. Especially the introduction to colposcopy was very successful.
Following the FIDE meeting in Halle, we were able to organize a joint Summer School with the Ethiopian guests again after two years.
After the long break and exclusively virtual discussions, the focus was on personal exchange and the planning and shaping of existing and future cooperation. After the work-intensive days in Halle, we traveled with our guests to the Allgäu for two days of retreat and surprised our visitors with an excursion to the summit of the Steineberg (1660m).
Women's health discussed internationally
27th FIDE Conference and 7th international PAGEL Summer School at the University Hospital in Halle with a large number of participants.
Under the motto: "GLOBAL WOMEN'S HEALTH IN TIMES OF GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGES", the 27th FIDE Conference and 7th international PAGEL Summer School took place from September 16th to 18th, 2022 in the University Hospital Halle/Wittenberg. At the three-day international event, more than 100 globally interested physicians and health scientists exchanged views on topics related to women's health. Above all, it was about pointing out the serious health consequences for women, which are exacerbated by climate change and armed conflicts, among other things.
So reported, among others, Dr. Gisela Schneider, Director of the German Institute for Medical Missions, on the situation of women in the Congo, who are primarily exposed to sexual violence, and on local aid projects of the Institute. Dr Cecilia Sorenson presented studies that show an increased mortality of women compared to men due to natural disasters.
Also at the conference and at the summer school was a high-ranking Ethiopian delegation, consisting of 26 physicians and health scientists from the University of Addis Ababa. Among other things, the presented the work of the Else Kröner Cancer Center in Ethiopia, a cooperation project of Global Health Working Group at the Halle Medical Institute and the University of Addis Ababa. Also among the delegation was Dr. Andualem, Clinical Director of the University Hospital and Prorector of Addis Ababa University and the Director of the Department of Prevention and Early Detection of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hiwot.
"It's nice to see that our initial ideas and visions of women's health have now grown into large projects that are also recognized at national and international level, e.g. by the WHO," says PD Dr. Eva Kantelhardt, head of the Global Health working group.
The event was organized by scientists from Global Health Working Group at the Profile Center for Health Sciences in the Medical Institute in Halle. Since 2009, Global Health Working Group at the Profile Center for Health Sciences and the "NCD and Cancer Group" at Addis Ababa University have been working on comprehensive improvements in cancer care in Ethiopia, among other things.
The Working Group Women's Health in Development Cooperation (FIDE) meets once a year, elects a board and exchanges views on current topics and projects relating to global women's health.
With the support of the DAAD program "PAGEL - Partnerships for the health sector in developing countries", Global Health Working Group runs an international summer school in Halle once a year.
All information about the conference can be found here.
In July 22 we welcomed gynecologist Dr. Husnia Lobi from Addis Ababa to the University Hospital in Halle for a three-week internship. She was able to see the range of different clinical pictures and treatment options in the operating room, in the consultation hours and in the tumor conferences. She then returned to Addis Ababa with many ideas.
Ms. Abigiya Wondimagegnehu and Ms. Selamawit Hirpa (two colleagues from the Public Health team in Addis Ababa) were in Halle for an eight-week stay to work with the local team on publications and to plan new scientific collaborations. Ms. Abigiya is doing research on palliative care in rural Ethiopia. Ms. Selamawit studied tobacco and shisha consumption in schools.
For a total of three months, we were pleased to welcome our colleague Brhanu Teka from the laboratory team in Addis with us in Halle. During his stay he visited other cooperation partners in Göttingen and Berlin (Charité), analyzed laboratory data and worked on scientific publications.
In May 2022, after a two-year Covid-break, the African Cancer Registry Network met again in Moshi, Tanzania. About 80 scientists from 30 African countries met to exchange information about the scientific work of the individual cancer registries.
Four-week stay of breast surgeon Dr. Hiwot Amare and Dr. Girmaye Bogale from Addis Ababa at Halle University Hospital. Both have seen many breast surgeries including reconstructive surgery. Consultations, ultrasound and tumor boards were also on the varied program.
If you want to read more about Dr. Hiwot Amare, please click here.
Two-week stay of the Ethiopian oncologists Dr. Molalgn Woldemariyam and Dr. Yonas Dandena at the University Hospital Halle. The radio-technician and physicist were able to see modern procedures, organization and extensive patient care at the Clinic for Radiotherapy.
After many months of weekly virtual meetings and joint evaluation of pathological specimens, colleagues from the pathology department were able to visit. Dr. Tewodros and Dr. Amanuel visited the Global Health Team and the pathology department in Halle. Both have received special training in immunohistochemistry. This method will benefit patients with breast cancer as well as lymphoma patients.