Press Releases

Building Stronger Defences

12 March 2015 - The Inaugural Courage Fund Infectious Disease Conference is set to tackle pressing global healthcare challenges posed by Infectious Diseases

A Global Effort to Combat Threats

The combined expertise of 10 esteemed local organisations comprising of hospitals, medical schools, professional societies, research institutes and renowned international infectious disease experts is set to be on showcase at the first ever Courage Fund Infectious Disease Conference (CFIDC).

Focused firmly on building defences against emerging outbreaks and diseases threatening global populations, this first of its kind conference is billed to be a hub for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and expertise in the specialised fields of Epidemiology, Microbiology, Immunology and Public Health.
On the local front this global meeting will not only help strengthen the nation’s ability to address a broad range of issues posed by infection diseases but also aim to enhance our outbreak management capabilities as well as the diagnosis and clinical care of patients.

Insights to Enhance Preparedness and Capabilities “In recent years, Singapore and the world have experienced multiple surges of human cases infected with known or novel bugs and the dangers are ever persistent. It is common knowledge that bugs don’t respect boundaries, it is therefore imperative for us to be vigilant, and always be prepared and ready to counter the threat of both emerging and re-emerging infections. In particular the conference which will host world prominent thought leaders who have had first-hand experiences in dealing with viruses such as Ebola and multiple-drug resistant organisms will allow for better local preparedness and capabilities”, said Professor Leo Yee Sin, Director, Institute of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and Co-Chairperson of the CFIDC.

Professor Paul Ananth Tambyah, Chairperson of the CFIDC and from the Department of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said “This is a truly unique conference with some of the world’s leading experts including those who have just returned from working with Ebola in Africa sharing a platform with local experts from all the medical schools, research institutes and teaching hospitals. Many new advances in vaccine and drugs will be discussed as we take the control of infectious diseases to the next level in Singapore and beyond.”

One key topic that will be discussed in this global coming together will be that of Antibiotic Resistance by Adjunct Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Infectious Diseases, TTSH. “Antibiotic resistance has become a concern globally, especially over the past decade. In Singapore, we have implemented systems to monitor for resistant organisms, and programs to support prudent antibiotic use in hospitals. Hand hygiene is also important to reduce spread of these difficult bugs,” said A/Prof Lim.

Some 250 international Infectious Disease experts, Communicable Disease Public Health Practitioners, healthcare workers and medical students are attending this three-day conference from 11- 13 March 2015 that encourages cross-multidisciplinary collaboration and research.

“This inaugural conference was made possible with support from The Courage Fund, which recognises the need for a common platform where global infectious disease experts can share their knowledge and experiences across various healthcare communities, medical societies and institutions,” said Madam Kay Kuok, Chairman of The Courage Fund Board of Trustees, and Chairman of the National Healthcare Group.

The event is organised by the Singapore Infectious Disease Initiative in partnership with the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University of Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital Singapore Society of Pathology and Society of Infectious Disease (Singapore). CFIDC will discuss a myriad of topics to promote research and collaboration in Infectious Diseases in Singapore and beyond.

“It is imperative that experts in the region come together to share what we know, to be prepared to deal with whatever new and already existing infectious disease burdens we face,” said Associate Professor Eng Eong Ooi from Duke-NUS who is also Executive Committee Vice Chairperson and Co-Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, CFIDC. A*STAR strongly supports such platforms that facilitate interactions between scientists and clinicians across the globe to bring about greater advancements in the field of infectious diseases. In support of this symposium, A*STAR has provided travel fellowships to 17 early career scientists/clinicians from the region who are participating at the Courage Fund Infectious Diseases Conference, to encourage their continual interest and research in combating infectious diseases.