Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well during these unprecedented times of the SARS-Cov2 pandemic. The whole world is suffering and Africa is not different with the exception of a delay in the pandemic wave and the apparent fewer numbers of patients which might be a result of limited resources of diagnosis and/or distraction with other persisting health or economic priorities in different regions.
This means that less is known about African PID patients who might have been affected by the infection. I hope we collaborate and gradually build knowledge based on shared experience and encourage colleagues to communicate their experiences by contributing to the Worldwide survey of COVID-19 in PID patients (Link).
More regionally, I would like to apologize about the long absence of our Newsletter which was due to a multiplicity of unforeseen circumstances. To get everyone back on track, the majority of my letter will focus on the progress made with major agenda in the mandate of the 2019-2021 ASID Board :
1. Regarding the regulation of ASID membership and boosting ASID financial situation: theGeneral Assembly agreed to review the ASID membership database and to issue a minimal membership fee that will soonbe announced together with methods of payment. This will ensure issuing of full membership privileges including reduced conference registration fees, reduced membership fees with sister societies as well as help maintaining the ASID website and e-Newsletter in addition to other things that will be announced in due time.
Dear friends, I would be disclosing no secret by letting you know that establishing sustainable funding has been a big hurdle in the face of maintaining ASID activities. One way of improving the situation, in addition to membership fee, would be your support by sharing your publications, activities and bright ideas as well as visiting the website regularly. In addition to bringing life to the website and newsletter, this will attract sponsorships and donation funds. Accordingly, I encourage you all to support your Society and make use of available opportunities for a better future and continuity. It will also be unfair not to applaud all the wonderful support that we have been getting from our sister societies, patient organizations (especially IPOPI, JFM, HAEi and Hajar)and the industry (especially NBI, LFB and CSL-MEA) whenever we turned to them.
2. The establishment of an ASID registry and publishing Africa ‘adjusted’ PID clinical guidelines have been in the agenda for many years. I am pleased to let you know that we are making a steady progress in both agenda. Together with Prof Monika Esser (head of Registry Committee) we developed the main concept underlying the development of the African guidelines. We also contacted a number of you to join the taskforce or the advisory panels. The clinical guidelines committee is now spearheaded byDrEsser, while Dr Reem Elfeky (Head of research Committee) has kindly agreed to take the convener role. Dr Elfeky has translated the concept into a great working proposal plan that we are currently reviewing and will be posting to all taskforce and advisory panels members very soon.
As for the registry I am happy to inform you know that it will be initially supported by a generous sponsorship from NBI. The presence of regional and continental guidelines will be a major contribution to boosting our PID care and standardizing the African PID Registry data and outcomes. I am really excited about these two major projects and thankful to Monika, Reem and my colleagues in ASID Board for their enthusiasm and team spirit. We are indebted to Dr Sugania Moodley from NBI and to NBI for their continuous support of ASID and ASID activities. I am also grateful to All of you who accepted to be in the different panels of the guidelines group.
3. Progress with planning for the 7th ASID Conference, Khartoum, 2021: following the delays in various aspects of life, resulting from the unsettlement during the Sudan revolution that took place last year, the conference dates werepostponed from March/ April 2021 to the end of September/beginning of October 2021. Moreover, and following the COVID circumstances, their implications on travel restriction and expensesanticipated to continue beyond 2020, the board agreed to progress with planning for a hybrid conference where a limited number of speakers and board members will be invited to travel to Khartoum during the conference dates. Otherparticipants will be asked to join online through live online streaming and/or recorded talks. While we appreciate that this might not be as lively or enjoyable as a face-to-face meeting, we felt this is the most sensible scenario given the above reasons.
4. Another topic in connection to the conference and to ASID succession planning was that of selecting a Vice President and a Francophone venue for the 2023 conference. Morocco has kindly accepted to host the 2023 meeting and Dr Leila Jeddane has agreed to take the vice president role for 2019-2021 round hence she will act as apresident in the following round 2021-2023. Given the energetic contributions of Dr Jeddane to ASID through her scientific achievements as well as administrative roles, she is best suited for the position. I congratulate myself, ASID and Dr Jeddane on a well-deserved position.However, meant that her position as a secretary general was going to be vacant and Dr BrahimBelaid was nominated by the ASID Board to take this role for the remaining period of the 2019-2021 round starting September 2020. According to the constitution, there will be a vacant seat to complete the 13 seats of the current Board. There will be an online ballot for thisempty position. We encourage members finding themselves ready to join to nominate themselves. I would also encourage all young ASID members to become more active with the society and come forward with their ideas and nominations.
It has been a busy time for us in the Board. I am happy with the progress we have made so far and eager to achieve more. I am also pleased that we are continuing with established collaborations with other sister, umbrella and patient societies as well as with the Industry. We contributed to a number of activities over the past year including ESID focused meeting which was held in Belgium in 2018, IPIC2019 in Madrid and the IAPIDS Advanced PID Schoolheld in Lisbon between 29 January and 2 February, 2020. Taking an active role in the first IAPIDS School was particularly enjoyable and very useful with a lot of positive feedback. Please scroll through this newsletter for pictures and reports from these activities. I hope you find this newsletter enlightening on the progress of your board and I wish you find the content of this newsletter relevant and interesting.
Please remain in touch and let us know what you want your Society to achieve.
Best wishes and keep safe.
Dr Nahla Hashim Hassan Erwa
ASID President 2019-2021