ASTMH Annual Meeting 2019blog
Tackling Typhoid with an Integrated Approach
By: Catherine Gulley, Sabin Vaccine Institute
When I think of three days in New Orleans, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 67th annual conference is not the first thought to come to mind. But the excitement of the city matched the excitement of the conference perfectly. I am used to working and learning in a small office setting like the Sabin Vaccine Institute. So, being in a space with so many intellectuals throwing knowledge at me in a short amount of time was a bit overwhelming. However, I can say without hesitation that I have never been so in awe of the raw passion and intellect that I was able to experience while attending the conference. I was fortunate to sit in on the “Integration for Impact: Preventing Typhoid through Policy, Vaccines, and WASH” symposium, as well as a WASH and bacteriology symposium. At these sessions I had the opportunity to learn from experts in the field from all over the world, including one of our own at Sabin who presented on the process and policy impact of introducing typhoid conjugate vaccines in endemic countries! These vaccines have the exciting potential to lower the incidence of typhoid fever among vulnerable populations. The typhoid conjugate vaccines have the power to protect those that are most at risk for contracting the disease, so the time for roll-out is now!
The ASTMH conference demonstrated how much work is being done to improve our world regarding tropical medicine and hygiene, but it also highlighted how much more needs to be done. The health equity gap between high- and low-income countries in tropical medicine and hygiene is still an extensive problem. The beginning of the solution was presented through the abundant research at this conference. Now is the time to capitalize on that research to create change and influence decision makers to reduce that inequity on a larger scale.