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ECTMI Report 2023

By a werfkelder (‘wharf cellar’) on the Niewegracht (‘New Canal’). These storage facilities were built by the canals, which run below street level, and under their respective houses. Many have now been converted into apartments.

European Congress Report – Dr Christopher Rusheng Chew, DPhil in Clinical Medicine (Tropical Medicine and Global Health)

I was fortunate to have three of my research outputs generated in the course of reading for my DPhil selected for presentation at the 13th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH) which was held in November 2023 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Two were displayed as posters, and the other was a ‘poster pitch’ during which I had to deliver a five-minute concise presentation with reference to the poster followed by another few minutes for questions.

In the poster pitch I presented the results of an international e-Delphi survey I conducted. This study aimed to canvas opinions from a wide range of experts and build consensus on what diseases and biomarkers should be prioritized for novel rapid diagnostic tests for acute fever targeted at rural South and Southeast Asian healthcare settings. The results provide crucial guidance on this topic for researchers, industry partners, and policymakers, given that robust epidemiological evidence on which they would normally rely is lacking.  There was good engagement from the audience, with approaches from potential industry and academic collaborators.

Delivering my poster pitch.

I greatly enjoyed attending ECTMIH 2023, which was the first in-person overseas conference I have been to since the COVID-19 pandemic. I learnt a lot from the plenary sessions and symposia, especially on the latest updates in clinically-applicable research in tropical diseases, which were also very useful in sparking inspiration for new research ideas and collaborations. Equally importantly, I grew my network and was able to chat with other attendees on their global health career paths, which is something I am exploring as I come to the close of my DPhil candidature. Another reason I enjoyed this conference was that it viewed the subject area from a broad perspective, with equal emphasis on both the science and art of global health. A highlight was going on a walking tour of colonial Utrecht led by a historian, during which I learnt about how Dutch colonialism influenced the field, and attending associated sessions on how best to decolonize global health.

Utrecht University Hall, the ceremonial heart of the University (founded 1636).

No attendance at an overseas conference would be complete without taking the time to appreciate the cultural attractions of the host city, and I was lucky to have some time to wander around the historic centre of Utrecht as well as spend 1–2 days either side of the conference in Amsterdam, since I had to fly in and out of the latter city. In particular, being in an ancient university town like Utrecht brought back a sense of nostalgia for Oxford (and Univ!), since my DPhil research is based almost entirely at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok, Thailand rather than in Oxford itself.

I am most grateful for the financial assistance afforded by the Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund 2022-23 to attend this enriching and educational meeting, more so given the high costs of international travel have been so high in recent times. I would also like to acknowledge the encouragement and assistance of my DPhil supervisors and wider research team, who were integral to the success of the studies I presented at the conference. Finally, I provide below details of, and links to, the peer-reviewed publications associated with these presentations, should they be of interest to the reader:

Chew R
, Lohavittayavikant S, Mayer M, Day NPJ, Lubell Y. (2022) Perceptions and priorities for the development of multiplex rapid diagnostic tests for acute non-malarial fever in rural South and Southeast Asia: An international modified e-Delphi survey. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 16(11):e0010685. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010685.

Chew R, Greer RC, Tasak N, Day NPJ, Lubell Y. (2022) Modelling the cost-effectiveness of pulse oximetry in primary care management of acute respiratory infection in rural northern Thailand. Trop Med Int Health 27(10):881-890. doi: 10.1111/tmi.13812.

Chew R, Zhang M, Chandna A, Lubell Y. (2021) The impact of pulse oximetry on diagnosis, management and outcomes of acute febrile illness in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review. BMJ Glob Health 6(11):e007282. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-007282.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 24 May 2024

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