HUGS presents key results internationally in the Netherlands then nationally in Malawi

Blog 3 Dec 2023
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Whilst directing the implementation research consortium COUNTDOWN, our UK_AID funders expected us to share our collective research outputs, and associated public health guidance, as quickly and as responsibly as possible. In so doing, this better informs various health stakeholders by seeding new knowledge to foster evidence-based action. A process known as ‘research uptake’ that serves as a useful model for HUGS outputs to follow in both international and national communications.    

During the summer the Federation for European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health put out a call for special symposia to be held within their forthcoming European Congress in November at Utrecht. This congress encourages and stimulates the active participation of multidisciplinary researchers, particularly those from LMICs, alongside providing a forum for global thinkers, policy, and decision makers. The congress’s theme was shaping the future of equitable and sustainable planetary health. Responding to this call our proposal for a session entitled “A focus on Malawi: Schistosomiasis and a new One Health” was accepted and provided an excellent opportunity to discuss our latest research outputs in collaboration from colleagues from Belgium and the USA.

Our HUGS symposium was held on Thursday 23th November and was very well attended. Our presentations can be found in the associated PDF slide deck (right). Our session was chaired by Prof Stothard with colleagues from Leiden University Medical Centre assisting. Dr Tine Huyse gave a historical account of the importance of S. haematobium-mattheei hybrids making specific reference to a clinical case series in travellers. Dr Janelisa Musaya then presented the latest findings from the HUGS human cohort study, highlighting the importance of male and female genital schistosomiasis. Environmental and snail-related factors of transmission were presented by Mr Peter Makaula with Dr Alex Juhasz later presenting on the culmination of HUGS work on cattle. Our final talk was by Dr Julianne Meisner who shared information from HUGS and her own projects in Kenya on GPS-technologies to track animal movements. The session closed with a QnA discussion inviting audience participation.

The following week, other members of the HUGS Malawi team presented their findings at a national meeting entitled the KUHeS Research Dissemination Conference in Blantyre.  Dr Seke Kayuni presented in detail the latest evidence on genital schistosomiasis and associated HUGS clinical follow-ups to be undertaken in 2024. We were delighted that David Lally, Priscilla Chammudzi and Clinton Nkolokosa gave oral talks on their original contributions towards HUGS epidemiology, malacology and modelling, respectively. This was the second annual meeting of this dissemination process. Indeed, it is growing in national stature as the go-to meeting to learn about the state-of-the-art research in Malawi. In the coming year, HUGS is soon to capitalise on these oral outputs with several manuscripts soon to be submitted for academic peer-review, so what this space as they go to press in 2024.