Epigraph Vol. 13 Issue 1, Winter 2011

Inauguration of the Commission for African Affairs (CAA)

Dakar Conference on the formation of the CAA
Delegates of the Dakar Conference on the formation of the CAA

The official inaugural meeting of the African Commission of ILAE took place in Dakar, Senegal from 19-20 November 2010 at Hotel Ngor-Diarama Dakar. The meeting was declared open on the 19th by Prof Amadou Gallo Diop of Senegal. This was followed by personal introduction of each of the representatives of each Chapter, observers and delegates from ILAE.

Of all African Chapters, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Algeria were not represented. Present were Dr Calixte Kuate-Tegueu, Cameroon; Dr Sammy Ohene, Ghana; Prof Amara Cisse, Guinea; Prof Paul Kioy, Kenya; Prof. Baba Koumare, Mali; Dr Birinus Ezeala-Adikaibe, Nigeria; Prof Amodou Gallo Dioup, Senegal; Dr Brian Kies, South Africa and Dr Angelina Kakooza, Uganda.  Observers invited were Prof Njamnshi of Cameroon (Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences), Prof Pierre-Marie Preux of France (Tropical Neurological Institute of Limoges, ), Dr Anthony Zimba (IBE Africa Commission) from Zambia. ILAE delegates were Prof Nico Moshé (USA); Prof Emilio Perucca (Italy); Prof Sam Wiebe (Canada); Prof Michel Baulac (France); Prof Lionel Carmant (Canada).

A welcome address was read by Prof Monsour Ndiaye, head department of Neurology of the University of Senegal. This was followed by a brief remark by Prof Moshé who talked about the history of African Commission, failures and challenges so far. The later part of the morning and the afternoon were dedicated to presentations of each Chapter on its activities, challenges and prospects. Prof Lionel Carmant, Prof Wiebe and Prof Jean-Marie Prieux made presentations, all targeted to show the great opportunities and prospects in working as a team to develop the African Commission. It was noted that a lot of work has been done or is presently going on in various parts of the continent, but there is a need for proper coordination and collaboration.

The second day of the meeting was dedicated to the formation of the Commission (ILAE-CAA). The executive members of ILAE all contributed by telling us how the Commission works and the successes achieved in other regions of the world and the scope of the future CAA based on ILAE Bylaws. The President Prof Nico Moshé, encouraged the African Commission to move forward and work as a team despite the envisaged challenges and always call on the parent body for help when the need arises. He stated that the North American Commission is waiting for us in Africa for partnership in promoting the treatment of epilepsy and research into newer epilepsy syndromes which may exist in Africa but are not yet recognized.

Later in the day the potential members of CAA met to discuss and elect the officers that will run the Commission until 2013. The officers were selected (see photo below) and were later endorsed by the International Executive Committee. Further work was done in setting out the Commission’s Action Plan for 2011-2015.

Executives of the new Commission on African Affairs
Executives of the new Commission on African Affairs (CAA)

Chair: Pr Amadou Gallo Diop, Sénégal;
Secretary General: Dr Callixte Kuate Tegueu, Cameroon;
Treasurer: Dr Angelina Kakooza, Uganda
Education: Pr Bryan Kies, South Africa
Research: Pr Paul Kioy, Kenya
Communication: Dr Birinus Ezeala Adikaibe, Nigeria
Liaison to GCAE: Pr Baba Koumare, Mali
Task Force on Access to Care: Dr Sammy Ohene, Ghana, Pr Amara Cisse, Guinea, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Algeria

The major aspects of the action plan were updating the existing database of neurologists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, neuroscience training centers, present and previous research works and setting up a time frame for an African Congress on epilepsy. Issues concerning access to care were also raised and included in the action plan. Chapters were encouraged to participate more actively in international Conferences/Congresses and look for ways of expanding the number of African Chapters and their membership by reaching out to teachers, social workers and other lay people. The implementation of the various aspects of the action plan are to be carried out by local Chapters. However, the CAA is to coordinate the work. Each action plan was delegated to the various offices of the Commission.

The meeting ended 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, 20 November 2010.