November 2017 Newsletter


Welcome to the CORDS November 2017 newsletter. CORDS is a Non-Governmental Organisation comprised of six international networks, working to reduce and prevent the spread of diseases by exchanging information and best practice. Our vision is a world united against infectious diseases. Early detection of outbreaks helps keep disease transmission to its area of origin, which, in our increasingly mobile world, is vital to stopping life threatening diseases such as Zika, Ebola and Yellow Fever. The collective expertise of the CORDS networks and their close relationships with local communities facilitate timely detection and response to outbreaks.

P48 Advisory Committee meeting in Brussels

On the 28th and 29th of September 2017 CORDS Executive Director Christophe Longuet attended the third Advisory Committee meeting for the European Union CBRN CoE – “Project 48” which works to improve the regional management of outbreaks in the Centres of Excellence partner countries of the African Atlantic (countries involved: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo). During the meeting, the progress of Project 48, coordinated by Expertise France, was presented by the key experts in Epidemiology, Risk Communication and Laboratory safety. Thirteen train-the trainers sessions are planned on these topics. Fondation Mérieux is actively involved in the laboratory component of the project which aims to improve lab maintenance capacity. The P48 Advisory Committee, which provides guidance for the sustainability of the project, includes representatives of the World Health Organization and the West African Health Organization. More information on the project is available at

Chatham House meeting in Abuja
On the 3rd of October 2017, Chatham House and the Nigeria CDC held a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, entitled ‘Sharing the materials, Data and Benefits of Public Health Surveillance: West African Roundtable, Regional CDC’. The meeting was launched by the Minister of Health of Nigeria, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and chaired by Prof. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Prof. Ann Marie Kimball and Prof. David Harper. The meeting gathered 20 high-level experts in disease surveillance and public health from Africa, Europe and USA. Its objectives were 1) To consider in detail the added value of National Public Health Institutes (NPHI’s) at national and regional levels to strengthen health security, particularly in terms of resilience, expertise, flexibility and relative autonomy. 2) To deepen the understanding of the added value of NPHI’s working in partnership to maximize the utility of their available resources. 3) To use the areas of information and material sharing to illustrate the benefits of developing a shared understanding of the issues, collaborating and the impact on health security, in the short and long term.

Among other communications, Dr Christophe Longuet presented CORDS’ experience in networking and highlighted the importance of trust for data and material sharing. The meeting concluded that the vision of a vibrant community of inter-sectoral partners in each of the fifteen countries, communicating regularly to share a broad scope of public health information in a timely and accurate way was achievable. It would be enhanced by meeting and communicating regularly (both during and between outbreaks/events). The vision of the African Centers for Disease Control, ECOWAS-RCSDC and WANIDS, together with the promise they bring for population health, needs to be communicated effectively.


CORDS briefs outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Somalia on development and health challenges

CORDS Resource Mobilisation Manager Paul Asquith was invited to deliver a briefing session for the new Swedish Ambassador to Somalia, His Excellency Andreas von Uexkull and his wife Marilinia von Uexkull, on the topic of ‘Key Development Challenges in Somalia, the Horn, & East Africa – Economy, Gender, Health, & Migration’ on Tuesday the 18th of October. This formed part of a programme of specially-tailored briefings delivered by staff at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

As part of this briefing Paul highlighted the key health challenges in Somalia, the Horn of Africa and the wider East African region, in particular stressing to the new Ambassador and his wife the importance of infectious disease surveillance in cross-border areas of conflict and complex emergencies, where institutions may be weak. Paul drew on examples of the type of work currently carried out by the East African and Southern African Networks, EAIDSNet and SACIDS, among other CORDS Networks. The briefing also provided an opportunity to learn more about Sweden’s strategic development priorities in the region.


CORDS Board Meeting in Denpasar, Indonesia

From the 6th to the 9th of November 2017 CORDS held an Executive Board meeting in Denpasar, Indonesia, hosted by CORDS Chairman, Prof. Amin Soebandrio. The Chairs and coordinators from five regional Networks attended as well as representatives of the partners, Skoll Global Threats Fund, Fondation Mérieux, NTI, and The Rockefeller Foundation by teleconference. Prior to the Board meeting a workshop gathered the Network representatives to discuss CORDS strategy and inter-network projects for the future. APEIR also organised a visit to the Balai Besar Veterinary Center, in Denpasar, Bali. The centre implements a One Health approach for rabies control in Bali.


Collaboration with the West African Health Organisation to strengthen WANIDS

Following the assessment of Niger’s National Coordinating Institution (NCI) in August 2017, experts from CORDS, led by Dr Bakary Sylla, and experts from WAHO, visited the NCI’s in Benin, The Gambia, Liberia, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso during September and October. A One Health expert from EAIDSNet, Dr Deo Birungi Ndumu, a veterinary epidemiologist from the Ministry of Health in Uganda joined the mission and highlighted the need for a stronger link between human, animal and environmental health surveillance systems. The next countries to be visited will be Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo. As a reminder, the aim of CORDS’ mission with WAHO is to evaluate the current status of the NCI’s in the ten West African countries mentioned above and to propose a capacity-building plan, based on their needs and in conformity with the ECOWAS regulations, for the strengthening of the NCI’s network WANIDS and the operationalisation of ECOWAS/RCSDC.


Update on CORDS Conference 2018

Preparations are well underway for our Conference in Bangkok, Thailand from the 29th-30th of January 2018, a side event of the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC). The Rockefeller Foundation and Skoll Global Threats Fund are co-organisers and sponsors with Fondation Mérieux acting as partner and supporter. The conference will be made up of four main sessions over the two-day event: ‘Promoting Innovation’, ‘Advancing One Health’, ‘Network Capacity Building’ and ‘Building Sustainable Networks’.


SACIDS develop digital disease surveillance tool

With financial support from Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Sokoine University of Agriculture, in collaboration with the National Institute for Medical Research through the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS), is implementing a project to strengthen the capacity to detect and respond to human and animal diseases at community level through a One Health approach, using digital technologies. SACIDS has designed and developed a digital disease surveillance tool “AfyaData” to support real-time surveillance data collection, reporting and feedback.

AfyaData has already been deployed in the Ngorongoro and Morogoro districts in Tanzania and has been used to support cholera surveillance. AfyaData is a set of two applications; a mobile android based client and a web-based application acting as a server. The mobile client is used for collecting and submitting surveillance data, and receiving and/or tracking feedback from health officials. To find out more about the project contact Prof. Esron Karimuribo at


APEIR and the Balai Besar Veterinary Center of Bali present the Janger Dance: Increasing People’s Awareness and Participation in Preventing Rabies through Culture and Arts in Bali

Since 2008, when the first case was found, over 167 people have died of rabies in Bali. The increased number of rabies cases during 2015 led to the outbreak being declared as a “Kejadian Luar Biasa” (KLB) and as a result there were fears that the number of tourists visiting Bali would decrease. In response the Provincial Government of Bali undertook some important initiatives to reduce the number of cases, including dog vaccination programmes. However, vaccination alone is not enough as it focuses only on the animals as the vectors of the virus. Humans, with their potential impact to the environment and animal population, also need to be educated. To help solve the problem INDOHUN One Health Collaboration Center (OHCC) at Udayana University designed a creative and engaging health promotion campaign to deliver messages on rabies in a way easily understood by the general public. The medium chosen was the Janger Dance, a traditional dance from Bali, very popular among Balinese, both in villages and towns. The performers dance and sing traditional songs that tell particular stories.

INDOHUN OHCC at Udayana University used Janger Dance to create a piece called ‘Jangan Rabies!’ or ‘Stay Rabies Free!’ The traditional dance element remains with added messages about rabies and examples of first aid for dog bites and how dog owners can protect themselves. The performance is conducted in three languages Balinese, Bahasa Indonesia, and English to reach both local residents and international tourists. The dance was performed to delegates from the CORDS Board meeting on the 6th of November 2017.


Hackathon on Infectious Diseases

The International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) is hosting a Hackathon on Infectious Diseases from the 27th of February 2018 to the 1st of March 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Hackathon is an event in conjunction with the 18th International Congress on International Diseases. The goal of the event is to develop solutions to address infectious disease challenges in relation to the United Nation’s sustainable development goals and water, sanitation and hygiene conditions. The event is for public health professionals, clinicians, IT professionals, students, entrepreneurs and researchers amongst others. Participants will have access to a wide range of data sets and infectious disease outbreak reports. To find out more visit


International One Health Congress call for abstracts and Early One Health specialists fellowship.

The 5th International One Health Congress is the world’s premier conference for the worldwide One Health community. One Health advocates from all over the globe will gather in Saskatoon, Canada, from the 22nd to the 25th of June 2018 for four days of lectures, debates, workshops and symposia. To capture the multifaceted One Health paradigm, the Congress will have distinct program tracks on One Health Science (zoonosis, climate change, food and water safety), antimicrobial resistance and translational science.

Abstracts can be submitted online through the website Abstracts topics can include: surveillance and early detection, drivers for emerging diseases, One Health in underprivileged communities, prevalence and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. Guidelines and abstract submission tools are also available online. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of February 2018 and notifications of acceptance and instructions for oral or poster presentations will be sent via email by the 15th of March 2018. Early career One Health specialists can apply for travel and accommodation support through the One Health Fellowship Fund. Deadline for application is the 1st of December 2017.


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