First National Conference on Podoconiosis in Cameroon

Podoconiosis is a form of secondary lymphoedema caused by chronic exposure to irritant red clay soils which affects over 4 million people globally with very debilitating and stigmatizing effects. Based on collaborations between the Prof. Wanji from the University of Buea, Prof. Gail Davey from Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), Dr. Kebede Deribe from the University of Addis Ababa, and Prof. Achim Hoerauf and Dr. Manuel Ritter from the University Hospital Bonn, the disease podoconiosis has been extensively studied in Cameroon and initial studies started the national mapping of the disease across 10 regions in Cameroon. Despite its significant public health burden, morbidity and stigmatization, podoconiosis remains a disease with no specific global health program, as a result the disease is only visible in the shadow of programs of lymphatic filariasis or skin NTDs. The first national conference was therefore organized to highlight the results of earlier works carried out this far and also set the stage for an advocacy for a tropical disease that is considered very neglected.

Overall, the conference tackled the following objectives:

  1. Share with stakeholders the knowledge on podoconiosis acquired over two decades of research
  2. Get podoconiosis prioritised in the Cameroon NTD strategic plan and developing the Cameroon national podoconiosis management guideline
  3. Advocate for inclusion of podoconiosis in the curriculum of Cameroon medical training
  4. Encourage young scientists to carry out research on podoconiosis