EXCITING COLLABORATION BETWEEN IBRO, EFNS AND WFN OPENS UP IN AFRICA!
Over the past couple of years IBRO has been developing collaborative links with major neurological federations to promote clinical neurosciences in Africa. In this respect, IBRO has made strong ties with the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) and more recently the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). The ARC and SONA have also renewed their links with the Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences (PAANS; www.ajns.paans.org), who will hold their biennial conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon this November, 2008. Since the highly successful, WFN-IBRO symposium (promoted by WHO) in April 2007 in Nairobi, the WFN has established an Africa Committee (AC) to develop neurology training in the continent. The WFN AC, chaired by one of the original members of IBRO ARC Prof Gallo Diop, was officially launched at a meeting in March this year in Stellenbosch, convened by WFN President Johan Aarli (Norway) and Secretary-General Raad Shakir (UK).
In June (26-28, 2008) another milestone was reached. The EFNS in co-operation with IBRO and WFN lead the first Teaching course (TC) in Dakar, Senegal. This excellent joint venture, to continue in future years, was chaired and organized by Professors Gallo Diop, MM Ndiaye (Senegal), P Ndiaye (Senegal), J-M Vallat (France) and J De Reuck (President EFNS, Belgium) along with several colleagues from the EFNS, WFN, IBRO and University of Dakar. The TC was launched by the Dean of the Faculty (C Boye) during the Opening Ceremony, at which representatives of each of the sponsoring organisations (J De Rueck, EFNS; R Shakir, WFN and R Kalaria, IBRO) and local WHO representative (A Felipe) welcomed all and thanked the organisers.
The TC in Dakar was featured under two themes: Peripheral Neuropathies and Dementia. Didactic lectures on epidemiology, symptoms, treatment and management were delivered in the morning and cases relating to themes were discussed in the afternoons. Over 100 neurology trainees and specialists attended the course held at the Medical Faculty site of the University. Among the TC attendees there were 10 IBRO alumni. The international teaching faculty with expertise in their own right comprised G Avode (Benin), J De Reuck (Belgium), J Dumas (France), M Gonce (Belgium), R Gouider (Tunisia), E Grunitzky (Togo), R Hughes (UK), R Kalaria (UK-Kenya), B Kouassi (Cote d’Ivore), MM Ndiaye (Senegal), A Njamnshi (Cameroon), M Rossor (UK), R Shakir (UK), A Thiam (Senegal), J-M Vallat (France) and D Vodušek (Slovenia). On the last day a highly interactive session several practical issues and difficulties concerning neurology practice in the ‘bush’ were discussed. Representatives of WFN, PAANS and Pan Arab Union of Neurological Societies (PAUNS) also reassured the attendees they are available to help African neurology practice, teaching and research. IBRO Secretary-General Marina Bentivoglio also provided a brief but important overview of the work of IBRO. Ms. E Sipido (Italy), I Mueller (Austria) and M Soda (Senegal) were invaluable in providing logistical help.
IBRO ARC looks forward to future collaborative activities with the EFNS and WFN in Africa. There are plans already in hand for the second TC in Anglophone sub-Saharan Africa in 2009.
Taking part in this nouvelle initiative in Africa has been a wonderful privilege for us. We take this opportunity to thank colleagues from all sides (IBRO, EFNS and WFN) for their encouragement and assistance. This first joint TC event with EFNS was made possible by the generous contributions from UNESCO and IBRO. Report by Prof Raj Kalaria (past Chair ARC and Liaison officer, AC WFN) and Prof Gallo Diop (WFN AC, chair) July 2008
Pictures: 1) The attendees of the 1st joint EFNS-WFN-IBRO Teaching course in Dakar 2) IBRO alumni with Marina Bentivoglio, Gallo Diop and Raj Kalaria at the EFNS-IBRO TC in Dakar