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For the record: A Communiqué on the 45th Annual Conference and General Business Meeting of the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria

A Communiqué on the 45th Annual Conference and General Business Meeting of the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) held at National Space Research And Development Agency, Obasanjo Space Centre Pyakasa Junction, Airport Road, Abuja, Nigeria from 4thTo 8th October 2021

The 45th Annual Conference of the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) with the theme Public Health, Tourism and Emergence of Pandemics was held at the National Space Research and Development Agency, Obasanjo Space Research Centre, Abuja (NASRDA) from 4th– 8th October, 2021.

The conference was declared open by Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba, the Director General, NASRDA;who also presented a lecture The Role of Space Technology in Public Health in Nigeria. He noted the application of space technologies in disease control and stressed the need to acknowledge that the changing environment may be responsible for emergence of new disease strains and re-emergence of parasitic diseases, which were thought to have been controlled/eliminated. He challenged participants  to find lasting solutions that would completely eliminate diseases that compromise the health of the  poorest in our community

The conference attracted over 508 registered participants. A total of 207 scientific papers made up of  110 oral and 97 posters were presented. The Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, Prof Chiedu  Mafiana   in his speech welcomed all members to the conference.

Thereafter, the PPSN President, Prof Chinyere N. Ukaga  in her speech, highlighted forty-two achievements made by  the society under her watch as President. The keynote lecture Public Health, Tourism and Emergence  of Pandemics was presented by Prof. Olubunmi Otubanjo  in her lecture noted that the  relevance and contributions of PPSN to health matters in national development has grown (increased)  over the years; stressing that in recent times, the PPSN Covid-19 taskforce has contributed its own  quota to the surveillance, knowledge, attitude and practice and prevention of the disease in different  geopolitical regions in Nigeria.

She highlighted the potentially dangerous nexus, between Public health,  tourism and pandemics. The internet and advances in the technology of travel (transportation) have  shrunk the world into a global village. While this phenomenon carries great benefits for man, it is also a perennial time bomb.  As we can see from our current experience with covid- 19.

The most formidable public health system can be drowned by a pandemic, spread by tourism and travels. She emphasised  that Nations are built from dreams. America is an example, and that Nigeria is set for a greater glory. A dearth of knowledge is not our challenge, but the will power and appropriate leadership to grow and develop exponentially. A policy to develop tourism will overhaul our development and status as a nation.

All strata of governance, communities and international organisations must participate, to achieve set  goals in transformational sustainable tourism for the upliftment of our image, people and economy.\\

Prof Florence Nduka of the University of Port Harcourt in the first sub- theme paper presentation Culture, Perception and Public Health, opined that Culture: The way of life of a people is very dynamic and also affects their perception, in that perception is the sensory experience of the world and involves the recognition of environmental stimuli and actions in response to this stimuli thereby affecting how we see things; and noting also that Public Health seeks to protect and improve the health of communities  through the promotion of Healthy lifestyles, Research for disease and injury prevention, Detection and control of infectious diseases.

Prof Kenneth Yongabi Anchang an expert in Phytobiotechnology with Imo State University, Owerri  presented the second sub- theme paper  Parasites and Tourism.  He advocated a revisit of the nations  health travel advisory to include parasites as the current focus on Hepatitis, Meningitis, yellow fever,  HIV/AIDS – Yellow card presentation, TB and Typhoid vax, Ebola travel restrictions, and now COVID  19 (Compulsory COVID RT-PCR test within 48 hours before boarding is still limiting. He highlighted the  major zoonotic protozoa and helminthes as

Babesia bovis Chilomastix mesnili Cryptosporidium parvum Endolimax nana Entamoeba coli ,Entamoeba hitolytica Giardia lamblia Iodamoeba bütschlii Pneumocystis carinii Sarcocystis cruzi Toxoplasma gondii Taenia saginata T. solium Paragonimus westermani, Diphyllobothrium latum etc.

That government should have a revised health policies for hotels and airlines on parasites and tourism.  A high point of the conference was the conferment of Fellowship on eight distinguished members of the society for their selfless commitments and contributions to the growth and progress of the society.

The  recipients included: Profs. Gideon Amuga, Angela Ekwunife. Uwem Ekpo, Mobolanle Oniya, Danaan Dakul, Gloria Wokem, Dr Obadiah Elkanah and Prof Edward Omudu. The Prof. C.O.E Onwuliri’s post  graduate student debate and poster competition was conducted. Winners of the debate “ Covid-19 Pandemic, whose responsibility for control” were the North East Zone (1st), joint 2nd positions to South West and North Central. The poster competition was won by Enabulele et al (Abstract 38) 1st, Daniel et al (Abstract 48) was 2nd and abstract 207 was 3rd

At the Annual General and Business meeting, executives were elected to steer the Society from 2021 – 2024. They are:  President: Prof. Sammy Olufemi Sam-Wobo . Vice-President: Prof. Gideon Amuga . Secretary: Prof. Danaan Anthony Dakul . National Treasurer: Prof. Angela Ekwunife 5. Financial Secretary: Dr. Olabanji Surakat . Publicity Secretary: Dr. Barka James . Internal Auditor: Prof. Gloria Wokem . Editor in Chief: Prof. Uwem Ekpo  . Editorial Assistant: Dr Ehizogie Egbeobauwaye . Business Manager: Dr. Innocent C. J. Omalu . Ex-Officio : Prof. Chinyere N. Ukaga . Ex-Officio II: Prof. Martins S. O. Aisien . Co-opted Member: Prof. Kabiru Abdullahi . Co-opted Member: To be filled The zonal coordinators are . Prof Mrs R. S. Napthali North East . Dr Y. D. Malann North Central. Prof. Abdulhamid Ahmed North West . Dr Babatunde Adewale South West Mrs. Mofe Pajiah South South 20. Ven. Prof. Chris Okoye South East

The next PPSN Conference 2022 will hold at Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State. The specific dates will be communicated after the Pre-Conference meeting scheduled for March 2022

Against the background of this years’ conference theme “ Public Health, Tourism and Emergence of Pandemics, the 45th PPSN annual conference resolves as follows: For PPSN Members:  Intensify collaborative research. Improve on public enlightenment on parasitic diseases of public health importance. Link elimination with development  (Sustainable Development Goals) For Government/Agencies. Intensify the fight against insecurity by utilizing space technologies. This will reduce displacement of people, the spread of diseases and encourage tourism. Upscale operational and implementation research with community participation as a major  tool/strategy in the control and elimination of parasitic diseases  6. Review and support government health related policies as it relates to travel advisory. Develop globally acceptable strategies to support policies that would facilitate the identification, control and possible eradication of infectious diseases as well as restore the confidence of donor agencies.

Signed Prof Sammy O. Sam-Wobo President – PPSN

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