ASPAE is a young and growing organization, founded in 2009, supported by ISPAD, ESPE and other international organizations. The 5th ASPAE (African Society for Paeditaric & Adolescent Endocrinology) took part in Dar-es-Salaam/Tanzania 14th – 16th May.
The motto of the 2014 conference was 'Overcoming challenges in childhood diabetes and other endocrine disorders in African settingÂ´. The aims were to share knowledge and clinical practice between African participants and invited international speakers. The number of paediatric endocrinologists working in Africa is still low, and training centers established in Nairobi, Kenya and in Lagos, Nigeria are important landmarks in improving the number of well-educated pediatric endocrinologists and diabetologists in Africa.The ASPAE is home of pediatric endocrinologists in several African countries (Botswana, Cote dÂ´Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia); 50-60 participants took part at the meeting this year.
Our colleagues in Africa clearly state, that after epidemic of infectious disease starts declining - time have come to focus on non-communicable diseases like diabetes and endocrine disorders.
Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa diabetes remains a major challenge and many children die before diagnosis – due to limited knowledge, due to lack of adequate public awareness, due to lack of resources. Some African Nations - Sudan just to mention one example, have managed to establish diabetes service centers, diabetes training centers and successfully set up nationwide diabetes registries. This allows data-collection, which is very use- and helpful for discussion with health ministries and politicians and necessary to raise money for children with diabetes and endocrine disorders. The national diabetes/endocrine reports presented at the meeting were very impulsive and informative. People learned from each other how to establish centers in African settings and how to rise funding for pediatric projects. Exchange of opinions and views between different African countries allows adaptation of strategies for national concepts and the discussion between national representatives was very inspiring and stimulating.
The mixture of invited lectures (held by ISPAD and ESPE delegates) sharing their expertise and research presentations/case reports presented by local pediatric endocrinologists was very motivating for active discussion. Presentation of guidelines and how to translate them into national systems with low resources was challenging for both, speakers and the audience. This setting was very fruitful for discussion and conversation and I wish ASPAE to keep on going.
As lecturer and observer I was really impressed by the culture of discussion and commitment shown throughout the meeting and I am deeply convinced that ISPAD´s support of this organization is worthwhile.
Ass. Prof. PD MD Sabine Hofer,
Advisory Board Member ISPAD