23 October


The CERMEL’s TB research group held a Symposium titled “Towards improved TB control – why small countries count” at the 10th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (10th ECTMIH), October 16-20, 2017 in Antwerp, Belgium. The well-attended symposium was an opportunity to highlight the achievement of CERMEL’s TB research group over its few years of existence; how it has impacted positively on TB treatment and control in Gabon; and possible adaptation of our approach on an Africa-wide/global scale to stem the tide of the TB scourge.

The symposium was jointly chaired by Professor Martin P. Grobusch (Amsterdam, Lambaréné) and Professor Akim Ayola Adegnika (Lambaréné, Tubingen), and witnessed by Professor Peter G. Kremsner – The Director, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tubingen, Germany & The “Centre de Recherches Medicales de Lambarene (CERMEL)”, Gabon. The following presentations were made, and thereafter followed-up with robust discussion on interesting questions from the very enthusiastic audience:

  • Enhanced TB Laboratory diagnosis and treatment in resource-limited settings – The Lambaréné Experience (Dr Abraham Alabi)
  • Tuberculosis treatment outcome and drug resistance in Lambaréné, Gabon – a prospective cohort study (Dr Sabine Bélard)
  • Multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis outbreak strains in Gabon (Patrick Beckert, PhD student)
  • Implementation of multidrug resistance tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment in Gabon: Lessons learnt from the field (Dr Ronald Edoa)
  • Fostering programmatic uptake and implementation of research data for improved TB control in Gabon (Dr Marguerite Loembé – presented by Prof Adegnika)

CERMEL TB Programme primarily serves a population of about 50,000 inhabitants in Lambaréné and surrounding villages in the Moyen Ogooue Region; and additional referrals from other parts of Gabon. In 2015, 15 new cases of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) were diagnosed which prompted the establishment of the 1st MDR-TB treatment unit at the Regional Hospital – implemented in conjunction with the Gabon National TB Control Programme. In summary, there is now a functioning TB service including appropriate MDR-TB surveillance and treatment - programs that are essential for success in moving towards optimized TB control or even elimination on a global scale.