The recent Asia Pacific Advanced Networking (APAN) meeting, held in January in Bandung Indonesia, saw the addition of a dedicated Dengue Fever workshop in the programme for the established APAN Medical Working Group.
A joint APAN–TEIN*CC initiative, the workshop took place on 20 January 2014, attracting over 30 attendees, including clinicians and researchers from within the multi-disciplinary dengue fever community, public health officials as well as National Research and Education Network (NREN) representatives from across the Asia-Pacific.
Titled “Dengue Fever – Let’s STOP it!”, the workshop set out to provide a forum for participants to share experiences and best practices and to exchange ideas around how to manage, prevent and fight this infectious tropical disease. According to the World Health Organisation, Dengue Fever is putting almost half of the world population at risk.
The discussions also provided an opportunity to explore how the NREN community and research and education (R&E) networks, at the national, regional and global level, can support the medical community’s international collaborative efforts to combat Dengue Fever in endemic countries and to prevent its spread.
In addition to speakers from Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Malaysia who attended the workshop in person, colleagues from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia and Japan joined the discussions remotely via a live video link provided by SingAREN, LEARN, AARNet and NII /NICT respectively.
All sites were able to view the presentations and follow the discussions in real time using the multi-point videoconference system supported by their respective national R&E networks and the regional Trans EurAsia Information Network (TEIN). With high-definition images and stable connections, participants experienced videoconferencing first-hand, as a time- and cost-effective collaboration tool.
The presentations covered a wide range of topics, from clinical case management to relevant climate impact studies. A round-table discussion that followed focused on taking stock of objectives and activities, as well as on how to move forward by working together and sharing experiences and processes to better combat the resurgence of the disease in the region.
Participants agreed to build on the positive experience of the workshop and NREN-supported videoconferencing and to follow up with virtual meetings around specific topics and areas of research interest. Professor Leo Yee Sin (Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore) stepped forward to facilitate the next virtual meeting on clinical case management.
Discussions are underway with NRENs in Latin America and Africa, among other world regions, about adapting this workshop model to the local context to help build regional communities.
The driving force behind the workshop, Prof. Francis Lee Bu Sung, President of SingAREN and Chair of Governors of TEIN*CC, commented:
“This was a very inspiring event. I hope it will act as a catalyst for more joint actions. Everyone left with renewed energy and enthusiasm in our quest to stop the spread of Dengue Fever and to improve its treatment!”
http://www.apan.net/meetings/Bandung2014/Sessions/Med.php (please scroll down to mid-page).
If you wish to find out more about this Dengue Fever initiative or want to join the next virtual workshop, please contact Professor Francis Lee Bu Sung at firstname.lastname@example.org
AARNet is an active member the global community of National Research & Education Networks (NRENs) that power and support collaborative, cutting-edge, data-intensive research and education. This “network of networks” connects researchers, teachers, students and innovators from the four corners of the world to one another, and to the data, software, equipment and hardware at the forefront of digital discovery. This global community is fueled by a strong collaborative spirit and a drive to push technical boundaries to create new knowledge, and ways to use that knowledge, to address society’s most vital challenges.
Authors: Helga Spitaler (DANTE), Francis Lee Bu Sung (SingAREN), Jane Gifford (AARNet)