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Burnet research at World Congress on Public Health

Burnet Institute

06 April, 2017

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Burnet Institute researchers presented at the World Congress on Public Health:

Thursday 6 April

World Leadership Dialogue:
Can we end the global tuberculosis epidemic by 2030?
1330 – 1530 Plenary Room 3
Lead: Dr Suman Majumdar, Burnet Institute
Speakers: Erica Lessem, Justin Denholm, Kerri Viney, Suman Majumdar, Steve Graham

Image: Professor Steve Graham presents at the World Congress on Public Health

One of the reasons why TB is the poor cousin of malaria and HIV even though it’s a bigger cause of mortality is that, unlike those two other diseases, it doesn’t have a rapid, point-of-care test, and that would be one way of having a game changer in terms of an epidemic response. What we need is a test with a high degree of accuracy, that tells us about resistance to the important antibiotics. We need a result on the same day, we need it to be robust and portable and able to be done at the primary care level, we need it to be low cost, and we need it to be available.”
- Professor Steve Graham at the WCPH

Image: Dr Suman Majumdar at the WCPH session on tuberculosis

A comprehensive strategy is needed to eliminate TB but we also need an increased uptake of new tools and diagnostic tests. New TB drugs and regimens are available but an increased uptake is needed in weak health systems. Failure to address drug-resistant TB equals human cost; health security risk; catastrophic social and economic costs.
- Dr Suman Majumdar at the WCPH

1354 - 1406 Room 211
Daniel O’Keefe: Longitudinal analysis of change in individual-levels of needle and syringe coverage in a cohort of people who inject drugs

World Leadership Dialogue:
Towards malaria elimination in the Asia-pacific – Challenges and opportunities 1600 – 1800 Plenary Room 3
Lead: Associate Professor Freya Fowkes, Burnet Institute
Speakers: James Beeson, Julie Simpson, Leanne Robinson, Win Han Oo, Archie Clements

Image: Associate Professor Freya Fowkes convenes the WCPH World Leadership Dialogue on malaria elimination

“What do we need for malaria elimination? We need political will. As we make advances, political will can be difficult to maintain. We need cooperation in the region to facilitate networking, knowledge sharing, capacity building and developing common strategies. We need private sector support. We need community engagement. We need improved tools - diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines. We can’t eliminate malaria globally without vaccines and the current vaccine we have is not adequately efficacious.”
- The Doherty Institute’s Professor Stephen Rogerson at the WCPH

Image: Dr Win Han Oo on stage with Dr Leanne Robinson at the WCPH session on malaria elimination

“Community delivered models of intervention is crucial in eliminating malaria in rural settings in Myanmar. The global burden of malaria has decreased significantly but there are still pocket areas where transmission occurs. These pocket areas are often geographically and socially isolated, making the challenge of reaching these communities harder. But if you want to eliminate malaria you can’t miss a single pocket.”
- Dr Win Han Oo at the WCPH

Wednesday 5 April

1430 - 1442 Room 106
Cassandra Wright: The trouble with technology: expert perspectives on translating new media interventions from research to practice

1700 – 1712 Room 220
Cassandra Wright: Findings from a randomised controlled trial evaluating MIDY (mobile intervention for drinking in young people)

Tuesday 4 April

1136 - 1148 Room 203
Daniel O’Keefe: Trends in driving under the influence of illicit drugs among regular drug users in Australia, 2007-2013: Has roadside drug testing had a deterrent effect?

Image: Daniel O'Keefe presents at WCPH on the deterrent effects of roadside drug testing

1100 - 1112 Room 203
Dr Megan Lim: Incidence of unintended pregnancy among female sex workers: a systematic review

Image: Dr Megan Lim at the World Congress on Public Health

Monday 3 April

World Leadership Dialogue:
HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B elimination by 2030 – the importance of equity of access to achieve these ambitious targets
Lead: Professor Margaret Hellard, Burnet Institute
Speakers: Edwina Wright, Brent Allen, Heidi Drummer, Giten Khwairakpam, Peter Revill, Jack Wallace

Image: WCPH World Leadership Dialogue convenor Professor Margaret Hellard

Scientific researchers needed to team up with community groups and lobby politicians as part of the bid to eliminate HIV transmission by 2030, Associate Professor Edwina Wright told the World Congress of Public Health in Melbourne today.

Associate Professor Wright, head of the Wright Group at Burnet, said there were enough health and research dollars available globally to end HIV transmission, as well as many other long term health epidemics.

“I think broad health alignments of peak research and community groups, and we should begin to think of ourselves as health activists, should inform the officials that we elect about our community’s health priorities … and vote out people who will not reflect our health priorities,” she said.

“By coming together and having these broad health alignments, we can then own our successes and failures when we do come to evaluate whether we met the 2030 target.”

She said the goal to end HIV transmission by 2030, set by world leaders in 2015 under the Sustainable Development Goals, was invigorating, gave new incentive to seek the best ideas and withstand challenges, and was a rebuke to cynicism.

“We do have some tremendous tools at our disposal to bring an end to HIV transmissions by 2030.”

Associate Professor Wright said the World Health Organization had recently recommended that all people living with or at risk of HIV should be offered treatment as prevention, but many were not receiving the antiretroviral treatments shown to prevent transmission.

“In Australia only a third of those who could benefit are on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis),” she said.

Associate Professor Wright was speaking at the session: HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B elimination by 2030 – the importance of equity of access to achieve these ambitious targets. Professor Margaret Hellard, Burnet’s Deputy Director (Programs) chaired the session.

Burnet Associate Professor Heidi Drummer, Burnet’s Program Director, Disease Elimination, spoke to the session about vaccine development for hepatitis C and HIV.

She said while direct-acting antivirals were largely effective for hepatitis C, one-to-five percent of those treated were not cured.

A vaccine was essential to meet elimination targets, but it required more engagement of industry with researchers, Associate Professor Drummer said.

“There’s not enough engagement by industry with researchers to co-develop vaccines. This is really important to move this field forward.”

Image: Associate Professor Edwina Wright presents at the WCPH

1600 - 1612 Room 211
Dr Megan Lim: Young people and pornography: who watches it, how much do they watch, and what do they see?