As the final pieces of the conference jigsaw fall into place, feelings of excitement are mounting within the organizing teams. Multiple drafts of the programme have led to a highly attractive finished product (which you can find on our website here and will be available in hard copy on the day). The same design swirls its way across our banners, badges and slides, capturing the sense of movement we hope will characterize the whole conference.
But of course the conference isn’t about the programme and banners – it’s about the people, and this is probably the most exciting part: we have over 180 delegates registered from 10 countries, meaning the room will be full to bursting! Several delegates have been selected to bring posters, which will add colour around the room - great for browsing before and between sessions. As everyone arrives, we’ll be showing the RippleEffect animated video, and a new video by Dutch filmmakers will be previewed just before lunch.
We also have an impressive array of presenters, patient representatives, panelists and Chairs, including Dr Apkaka Kalu (WHO-Ethiopia), Dr Edridah Muheki Tukahebwa (MOH, Uganda) and the legendary journalist and spokesmodel, Nunu Wako. Eleven researchers will present recent work covering a range of perspectives and countries, and three implementers will describe programmes bringing treatment and care to patients. Real-time judging of these presentations and responses to questions will culminate in the conferral of the Henok Negussie award (for the best research presentation) and the Meskele Ashine award (for the best implementation presentation) – so get ready to ask questions and stimulate debate! The debate will continue via the afternoon panel discussion, when five prominent leaders in research, implementation and policy will discuss the path towards elimination of podoconiosis.
The climax of the conference will be the launch of the Addis Ababa Declaration (found on page 10 of the programme). This will be on display during the final session of the conference, and afterwards in our joint reception with the Neglected Tropical Disease Non-Government Organisation Network (NNN) – follow the footprints to come and sign it, or even better, spread the word using our selfie frame!
The Local Organizing Committee and the Global Health team at Brighton & Sussex Medical School have worked incredibly hard to stage this ground-breaking conference, and we look forward to welcoming you on Sunday 23rd September. Keep your friends and colleagues posted using @pododotorg and #Podo18.
Professor Gail Davey, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex.