By Mary Nnah
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the second African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease holds virtually from May 25 to 29, 2021, according to the health guidelines established by the WHO and other health authorities.
The Congress which has established itself as the foremost inclusive community and impact-driven event on sickle cell disease in the African region successfully held its inaugural event in Lagos in 2019.
Under the high patronage of Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, the five-day Virtual Congress will encourage global participation and create an immersive experience, from plenaries, parallel sessions and workshops to abstracts and company presentations, partner exhibitions and networking, all in real time and on-demand.
The congress will also be hosted on a virtually rich online platform geared to provide a truly immersive experience that will enable sponsors, exhibitors and attendees to network and engage with exhibitors directly on the virtual booths and with fellow delegates around topics of interest and listen to speakers virtually.
The year 2020 marked the cycle end of The WHO African Region Sickle Cell Strategy 2010 -2020 which was adopted by the Sixtieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa (RC60).
Against this background, the call for ACSCD 2021 with the theme; “Working To Overcome Sickle Cell Disease – What Next?” invites presenters to put these developments into perspective with submissions that address structural, emerging and topical issues and causes for current challenges together with the innovative ideas, initiatives and recommendations for effective sickle cell prevention and control.
The ACSCD 2021 Congress program will be made up of diverse presentations, organised to stimulate dialogue around the congress theme and the WHO African Region Sickle Cell Strategy report.
And will bring together government representatives, inter-governmental organisations, leaders of industry, civil society, academic institutions, donors, the private sector, media and people living with sickle cell from across Africa and the rest of the world with aligned interest in exploring sustainable solutions to the challenges of sickle cell disease and also individuals and organizations who are committed to not just the patient/caregiver experience, but also committed to overcoming sickle cell disease in Africa.
The overall goal of the congress is to facilitate active exchange of information among scientists, researchers, policy makers and other key stakeholders, to highlight challenges and opportunities, and enhance strategies to further sickle cell control.
The congress also creates unique opportunities for women living with sickle cell through the Women Overcoming Sickle Cell Summit, a parallel event of the congress which will focus on sickle cell disease in women while highlighting key issues affecting women and also acknowledging women luminaries living with sickle cell and women-led sickle cell representative organisations who are contributing tremendously to tackling sickle cell through high impact advocacy, treatment and community commitment on the African Continent and beyond.
The ACSCD Congress is organised by the Doctor SickleCell – Center for SCD and supported by the World Health Organisation Africa, Ministry of Health Nigeria and Grant from Global Blood Therapeutics. It encourages a strong global partnership among science, leadership, industry and community in building a congress programme that will explore innovative ways to address the challenges and further sickle cell control in Africa.