Dr Rose Wafula

It is my privilege and great pleasure to welcome you to the first ever joint HIV and Infectious Diseases Scientific Conference that will be held on the 23rd to 26th October 2023. This year’s conference is the first of its kind as it is being jointly hosted by the National AIDS & STI Control Program, Ministry of Health, the HIV Clinician Society of Kenya and the Infectious Diseases Society of Kenya. We have done our best to offer an exciting scientific programme, composed of plenary presentations and abstract-driven sessions presenting the latest research and topics focusing on our theme “Excellence in Infectious Diseases and HIV control: Collaboration, Innovation and Resilience in the Era of Global Health Threats”. This year we are excited to give the conference a newer and more sophisticated outlook. HIV and Infectious diseases have many points of convergence, that creates a possibility to have overlapping conversations instead of speaking in unison. Of utmost importance of course are the recent pandemics and outbreaks of concern that have turned the global focus to strengthening public health responses as well as emergency preparedness. During the days of the conference, I would urge delegates to reflect on ways that which we can extend lessons learnt from HIV programming to cover a wider scope and help management of other infectious diseases including Hepatitis and STIs. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who have worked so hard to make the preparation of this conference a success – the joint organizing committee and the scientific committee members from NASCOP, IDSK and the HIVCSOK. I am confident that this conference will contribute greatly to improvement of HIV Care and treatment & HIV Prevention as well as life of people living with HIV. I wish everyone a stimulating exchange across disciplines and across nations.
We have in the past held separate Infectious Disease and HIV conferences but the convergence between many infectious diseases and HIV cannot be understated. This calls for more coordinated efforts towards achieving control of the various infectious diseases. This year we give the conference a new and more exciting look by bringing together the Infectious Disease Society of Kenya, the HIV Clinicians Society of Kenya and The National AIDS &STI Control Program. We are also for the first time collaborating with the International Society for Infectious Diseases, and hope to bring in more colleagues from the region and the international community. As we continuously grapple with emerging diseases, outbreaks and pandemics, we have to find ways to build the resilience of our health systems and health care workers to manage the various outbreaks without losing the ball on existing programs such as vaccination, HIV care, Tuberculosis, malaria or NTD eradication. We have to think about how to appropriately steward the resources that we have, such as antimicrobials, so as to reduce emergence of some of the most dangerous and antimicrobial resistant organisms. This calls for all of us to come together, take stock of the lessons we have learnt and listen to what our patients and populations are telling us. We have put together an exciting and diverse conference program to cover all the key and priority areas in Infectious Disease and HIV. I thank all colleagues who are working quietly in the background to make this conference a success. I extend a warm welcome to you all. Come, let us learn together.

Dr. Loice Achieng Ombajo