As the study of disease occurrence and health indicators in human populations, Epidemiology is a dynamic field that evolves with time and geographical context. In order to update African health workers on current epidemiological practices and to draw awareness of early career epidemiologists on concepts and opportunities in the field, the 3rd African Epidemiology Association and the 1st Cameroon Society of Epidemiology Conference was organized in June 2nd-6th, 2014 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The theme was «Practice of Epidemiology in Africa: Stakes, Challenges and Perspectives». The conference attracted close to five hundred participants from all continents. The two main programs were the pre-conference course for capacity building of African Early Career epidemiologists, and the conference itself, providing a forum for scientific exchanges on recent epidemiological concepts, encouraging the use of epidemiological methods in studying large disease burden and neglected tropical diseases; and highlighting existing opportunities.
The African region of the World Health Organization (WHO/Afro) supports fora aimed at reducing gaps in epidemiological production. Under the auspices of the international Epidemiological Association (IEA), some epidemiologists met in Calabar (Nigeria) in March 2012 to create the African Epidemiological Association (AEA). A key objective of AEA is to promote the discipline of epidemiology in the African continent, through a yearly conference in order to sustain and promote interactions, research and exchange of knowledge between epidemiology practitioners. The present conference was the third for AEA and the first for the Cameroon Society of Epidemiology (CaSE). A two-day course on capacity-building on Epidemiological methods held from Monday 2nd to Tuesday 3rd June 2014, brought to light the Practice of Epidemiology for Early Career Epidemiologists in Africa, delivered by faculty members from renown universities in Europe (France) and Africa (South-Africa, Nigeria Cameroon). This fully booked course, attended by more than a hundred participants, provided basic and practical concepts in Epidemiology as well as training and job opportunities.
This conference was of great asset to expose young career epidemiologists in the practice, training opportunities and research related to the field. International participation provided opportunities for research collaboration in public health and epidemiology, as well as perspectives in the field of epidemiology and public health.
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Current practice of epidemiology in Africa: highlights of the 3rd conference of the African epidemiological association and 1st conference of the Cameroon society of epidemiology, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 2014