National Institute of Parasitic Diseases of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention successfully held the Sixth Virtual Symposium on the Surveillance-Response Systems Leading to Tropical Diseases Eliminating

The National Institute of Parasitic Disease (NIPD), the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) (Chinese Center for Tropical Diseases Research), co-sponsored with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) held the Sixth Virtual Symposium on the Surveillance-Response Systems Leading to Tropical Diseases Elimination (6th SRS) in Shanghai, on June 14-15,2022, which attracted more than 600 participants from 53 countries. This symposium was also held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of China CDC.

Dr. Xiao-Nong Zhou, the Director of the NIPD, moderated the opening ceremony. Dr. George Fu Gao, Director general of China CDC, Dr. Jürg Utzinger, the Director of Swiss TPH, Dr. Andrea Bosman, the Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, Dr. Gauden Galea, Representative of WHO China country office, and Dr. Zheng-Long Lei, Deputy Director General of the Disease Control and Prevention Bureau of National Health Commission attended the opening ceremony and delivered welcoming speeches.

 Dr. George Fu Gao welcomed the global guests and call for working together to fighting against tropical diseases, and emphasized the importance of the concept of "One World, One Health". As one of the initiators of SRS symposium, Dr. Jürg Utzinger shared the initiation story and achievements since the first SRS symposium in 2012. Dr. Andrea Bosman appreciated that China had achieved WHO’s certification of malaria elimination and expected China could share with endemic countries technologies and experience of malaria elimination. Dr. Gauden Galea stressed that NTDs affect over one billion people globally, and pointed out implementing One Health approaches to prevent and manage these diseases generates momentum for substantial long-term gains. Dr. Lei emphasized Chinas efforts and achievements in the control and elimination of tropical diseases, and wished the symposium becoming a resource-sharing platform to promote technical cooperation in tropical diseases control and elimination among countries.

At the opening ceremony, two books on the Chinas history of controlling and eliminating schistosomiasis and malaria were also recommended, titled by "Farewell to the God of Plague: Archives of Fighting Schistosomiasis in the Peoples Republic of China" and “Accomplishment of Malaria Elimination in the People’s Republic of China” (Advances in Parasitology Vol. 116), respectively.


Under the theme of "Mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and sustain the goals of the NTD roadmap", four specific forums and two panel discussions were planned to exchange and share the strategies and technologies of tropical diseases control and elimination. 

Special forum Ⅰ focused on the global strategy and situation on malaria and NTDs. Dr. Pauline N. Mwinzi, technical officer of SCH & STH at WHO African region, updated the strategies, progress and challenges on NTDs in Africa region. Maru Aregawi Weldedawi, technical officer of WHO global malaria programme demonstrated the strategies and progress of malaria in Africa. Dr. Amadou Garba, leader of WHO global schistosomiasis control programme, introduced WHO guideline on control and elimination of human schistosomiasis.



Special forum Ⅱ focused on the current situation and challenges of tropical diseases control in country level. Prof. Carlos Graeff-Teixeira of Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo described the challenges in tropical diseases control in context of COVID-19 in Brazil. Dr. Nicholas Midzi, Director of Zimbabwes National Institute of Health Research, highlighted the latest findings of schistosomiasis control in Zimbabwe. Dr. Leo Makita, Program Manager of Department of Health in Papua New Guinea, introduced the progress of the China-Australia-Papua New Guinea trilateral malaria and health security project.


Special forum Ⅲ focused on China-Africa cooperation practice on tropical disease control. Dr.Jun-Ling Sun, Unit Chief of Parasitic Diseases at the Administrative Division of Infectious Diseases Control and Prevention, China CDC, shared the information of the Sierra Leone-China laboratory based surveillance and response of COVID-19 and hemorrhagic fever. Dr. Wendy Wei, senior project officer of malaria programme, China Office of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, introduced their malaria strategy in China and aspiration for supporting China-Africa malaria cooperation; Dr. Duo-Quan Wang, Professor of NIPD, shared Chinas experience in malaria elimination and reflected the China-Tanzania malaria program.


Special forum Ⅳ focused on the One Health approach and innovation technology for tropical diseases control. Prof. Ji-Ming Liu of Hong Kong Baptist University introduced Big Data science and Artificial Intelligence technology with their application in controlling tropical diseases. Dr. Johannes Seiler, Postdoctoral Fellow of University Innsbruck in Austria, described a physical distance index to identify high-risk areas of infectious disease transmission in Africa. Prof. Jakob Zinsstag of Swiss TPH exemplified the economic evaluation and practice of One Health in tropical disease control. Prof. Susan Welburn of University of Edinburgh stressed the implementation of One Health approach in the control of vector-borne tropical diseases.


Two panel discussions were hosted during the forums, guests addressed the impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the control and elimination of tropical diseases, exchanged opinions on how to ensure the achieved results of current tropical disease program, and explored innovative technologies to strengthen surveillance and response mechanisms through effective cooperation and constructive partnership.



The closing ceremony was co-chaired by Prof. Xiao-Nong Zhou and Prof. Jürg Utzinger. Prof. Zhou summarized that 13 speakers shared their experience and impacts of COVID-19 on tropical diseases control at global, regional and national scales, emphasized One Health approach, a comprehensive and systematical method via three aspects including human health, animal health and ecosystem health, gradually developed into an innovative technology for the surveillance and response of tropical diseases control, and recommended all partners jointly together to achieve the goal of tropical disease elimination by following WHO’s malaria strategy and NTDs roadmap.


The SRS symposia:

SRS symposium is a biannual international conference co-sponsored by the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and the World Health Organization. The 1st SRS Symposium was held in Shanghai in June 2012. Subsequently, every second year, the SRS was conducted in Shanghai. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 5th SRS Symposium was held virtually, as well as the current 6th SRS in 2022.

The past SRS symposia yielded fruitful results, such as construct an exchange platform for promoting global tropical diseases control, transmit the demonstration of Chinese experience on malaria and schistosomiasis control and elimination in Asian and African countries, and formed a series of institutional networks on malaria and schistosomiasis and the Belt and Road network on echinococcosis and cysticercosis. The SRS symposia also strengthen communication, collaboration and coordination of the Regional Network on Asian Schistosomiasis and Other Helminth Zoonoses.