2023 World Allergy Training School - Arusha, Tanzania
26-27 October 2023
The Allergy Society of Tanzania (ASOT) hosted a World Allergy Training School (WATS) in Arusha, Tanzania from 26-27 October 2023 in conjunction with its second National Congress. This was the second WATS meeting after a 3-year hiatus due to COVID. WATS is part of WAO’s Emerging Societies Program (ESP), with the objective to develop learning communities appropriate to a specific regional context while strengthening existing knowledge and skills for treating all allergic diseases. The WATS are made possible through the support of the World Allergy Organization and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).
The WATS in Tanzania had 45 participants; including, residents, fellows-in-training, clinicians, and academics in the medical fields of pediatrics, family medicine, pulmonology, otolaryngology, and dermatology. The participants came from all parts of Tanzania; and, in some cases, drove over 12 hours to attend the WATS. Although there are very few formally trained allergists in Tanzania, there was a strong enthusiasm and a recognized need to acquire both didactic and hands-on knowledge in diagnosing and treating allergic diseases.
Thank you to all who participated!
Dr. Kassim Babu Mapondela, the president of the ASOT, served as the local organizer and helped to arrange the conference facility and hotel venue; to invite participants, local speakers and moderators; and to orchestrate a smooth-flowing educational experience.
The international faculty for this WATS consisted of professors from the United States, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. Lectures and workshops were led by Dr. Michael Levin (South Africa) and Dr. Dana Wallace (United States) – the co-chairs of the WATS planning committee; Dr. Maeve O’Connor (United States); Dr. Evelyn Ng’ang’a (Kenya); Dr. Kassim Babu Mapondela (Tanzania); and Dr. Jude Tarimo (a pulmonary fellow from Tanzania). Dr. Richard Christopher (ASOT secretary) and Dr. Luth Mwapule (ASOT treasurer) moderated the sessions. Including local and regional faculty allows the WATS program to have a long-lasting impact by building collaborations and allowing regional fellows to present at an international forum.
The WATS agenda incorporated an interactive teaching approach and included lectures, workshops, and case discussions covering the major topics of asthma, allergic rhinitis, pulmonary function testing, diagnostic testing, atopic and contact dermatitis, food allergy, and anaphylaxis.
The WATS took place at the Kibo Palace Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania
Dr. Maeve O'Connor and Prof. Michael Levin demonstrating how to administer an allergy test
Dr. Dana Wallace and Dr. Kassim Babu Mapondela leading another allergy workshop
The WATS also included coffee breaks and buffet lunches during the day, and a Post-WATS dinner for all faculty and attendees at Leon’s Kitchen, a local outdoor restaurant where goat meat, a Tanzanian-favorite, was the featured entrée.
The international faculty had multiple opportunities to become acquainted with the participants and to learn more about the current medical practices, gaps in access to healthcare in Tanzania, and opportunities for the allergy and immunology specialty to grow and develop in the region. Dinner conversation gave some insight into the long-lasting benefit this WATS may have provided, as local academic allergists are already considering the possibility of developing allergy fellowship programs in both Tanzania and Kenya in the near future. Helping to fill immediate educational needs and providing the stimulus for future new allergy training programs fulfills the pinnacle of the WATS mission.
We would like to recognize and thank ALK Pharmaceuticals for providing some of the workshop supplies and Dr. Gene Cash for photographing the busy workshops and sessions.
Group picture of speakers and moderators listed left to right:
Dr. Richard Christopher, Dr. Kassim Babu Mapondela, Dr. Jude Tarimo, Dr. Dana Wallace, Dr. Maeve O’Connor; Dr. Luth Mwapule, Dr. Evelyn Ng’ang’a, and Prof. Michael Levin.