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The University of the West Indies to host Zika Symposium

Posted in: Regional News by admin | 03 March 2016 | 6013


    The University of the West Indies will host a two-day symposium bringing together an interdisciplinary group of specialists to explore issues relevant to the control of the Zika virus in the Caribbean.

    The symposium takes place this Friday and Saturday – March 4 and 5 – at the Hilton Hotel in Bridgetown, Barbados with live broadcasts on Caribbean cable stations Flow Channel 99 and Lime Channel 101. A live stream of day one’s proceedings will also be available via http://www.uwi.edu/zika from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm AST.

    Titled: One Environment, One Health: Informing the Caribbean Response to Zika, this symposium is organised as part of The UWI’s continuing strategic efforts to control the growing threat the Zika virus poses to the Caribbean region. It follows the launch of The UWI Regional Zika virus Task Force convened, by The UWI Vice-Chancellor, to leverage the University’s expertise and coordinate efforts with regional governments, health ministries and other agencies.

    The University has also created a website http://www.uwi.edu/zika aimed at providing updates and helpful resources on Zika in the Caribbean.

    Over the two-day event, regional experts in environment, vector control, health, education, and economic impact assessment will discuss a holistic approach to controlling the virus, honing in on the specific areas of:

    • Promoting environmental health,
    • Understanding the science of mosquito control,
    • Assessing the Caribbean’s economic impact,
    • Monitoring clinical cases, and
    • Tracking the virus

    Among the confirmed speakers are: Prof Dave Chadee, entomologist and parasitologist from The UWI, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago; Professor John Lindo, medical research in The Department of Microbiology, The UWI Mona Campus Jamaica; Professor Winston Moore, economist with expertise in Environmental Impact Assessments on Caribbean Economies, in the Department of Economics at The UWI, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados; Dr Glenford Howe, expert in Social and Educational Research and Policy Analysis at The UWI Open Campus; Professor Dale Webber, The UWI’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Graduate Studies and Research and several other technical experts from The UWI.

    The agenda also includes a range of external partners and stakeholders including: Dr Rachel Albalak, Director CDC Caribbean Regional Office US Embassy in Barbados; Dr Jean Marie Rwangabwoba and PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean; Dr Joy St. John, Director Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control in Trinidad and Tobago; Tiaji Salaam-Blyther, ‎Specialist in Global Health at the Library of Congress, Washington DC; and Professor Eric van Gorp Professor of Clinical Virology at the Erasmus Medical Centre, Holland.

    Commenting on the symposium plans, Chair of The UWI Regional Zika virus Task Force, Professor Clive Landis said, “The UWI Task Force is excited to come together at the Symposium this week to lay out our strategy for how to deploy the considerable expertise of The University on behalf of the region, working closely with Caribbean and international agencies, in the collective fight against Zika.

    We invite the widest possible participation by regional ministries, stakeholders and the public in the live-streamed portion of the symposium to inform the Caribbean Response to this health emergency.”