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More than 50% of cervical cancer cases in the developing world occur within the Asian-Pacific region. Therefore, in 2005, we have developed an expert multi-disciplinary group within the region and along the lines of European Research Organization on Genital Infection and Neoplasia (EUROGIN)/European Course on HPV Associated Pathology Virus (ECHPV), as developed for Europe and, more recently, Latin America. The Asia Oceania research organization on Genital Infections & Neoplasia (AOGIN) works with health care workers (as well as the lay public), particularly those in women's health with the goals of collaboration and research, scientific exchanges, education and training, providing information, surveys and audits. AOGIN brings together clinicians and scientists whose work is related to genital infections and neoplasia.
AOGIN's vision is to reduce the burden of disease caused by reproductive tract infections, especially HPV, in the Asia, Oceania and Pacific region. Furthermore, AOGIN's mission is to work with governments, non-governmental organisations, learned societies, health care workers and the lay public, to communicate, cooperate and share information and tools in order to reduce the burden of disease caused by reproductive tract infections, especially HPV, in the Asia, Oceania, and Pacific region.
The theme for the 4th Biennial Conference was "Agenda 2010: Towards eradication of cervical cancer." The meeting provided an opportunity for basic scientists, pathologists, virologists, clinicians, gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists, epidemiologists, medical students, postgraduates and health administrators to come together and discuss the latest advances in the field of cervical cancer prevention, including primary and secondary prevention, methods for low resource areas and guidelines for application in the region.
A record number of 1,050 participants from 50 countries attended the Conference. Three pre-congress workshops were held on March 26, 2010: 1) Colposcopy and Hands-On LEEP workshop (co-sponsored by the International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy), facilitated by Dr. Jeffrey Tan and coordinated by Dr. Quek Swee Chong and Dr. Vijay Zutshi; 2) Cytology and HPV testing Workshop, facilitated by Professor Suzanne Garland and coordinated by Professor Annie Cheung and Professor Kusum Verma; 3) Oncosurgical Video Workshop (co-sponsored by the International Gynaecologic Cancer Society), facilitated by Dr Michael Quinn and coordinated by Professor Eng Hseon Tay and Professor Shalini Rajaram. All the workshops offered an opportunity to enhance practical skills. The Colposcopy and Hands-On LEEP was especially popular and was oversubscribed. A DVD on the wide variety of techniques demonstrated in the Oncosurgical workshop is under preparation and can be obtained from the author on request.
There was a WHO webcast to the Asia Oceania region on HPV Vaccination on March 26, 2010, which can be viewed at http://wstech.wstream.net/aogin/100327. There was also a Quiz for Postgraduates on Lower Genital Tract Infections aimed at improving interest and knowledge amongst the younger colleagues.
The Keynote Address by Professor Keerti Shah on the subject "Beyond the Nobel Prize: Reducing the burden of cervical cancer" was greatly appreciated, highlighting the vast challenges that remain in translating the scientific advances into benefits for the community. The main conference on March 27 and 28, 2010 started with the Presidential Lecture by Professor Jong Sup Park on the topic "Changing trends of Surgery for Cervical Cancer." The Conference had 8 Plenary sessions, 5 Sponsored Symposia, a lively session on debates, and a session on Proffered videos. These covered topics on cervical cancer etiopathogenesis, prevention by HPV vaccination, treatment of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions, advocacy and education as well as sessions on HIV and other STIs. The IARC Symposium on "Promising Strategies for Cervical Cancer Prevention" and the PATH Symposium on "Implementation of HPV Vaccination" brought to the audience practical experience from the grassroots. The AOGIN Education Session chaired by Professor You Lin Qiao high-lighted common problems and dilemmas in education and management. Plenary session presentations by an elite international faculty, all leaders in their own fields, were greatly appreciated by the audience. The reader can view the on-demand webcast presentations online at www.hpvcentre.org/AOGIN2010.
The conference offered ample opportunity for exchange of ideas and striking up of new collaborations and partnerships. One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of the AOGIN Guidance for Cervical Cancer Prevention which is currently under preparation. The draft was presented by Professor Hextan Ngan, President AOGIN, and the final version with inputs from member countries will be published soon.
In all, 152 abstracts were presented on the conference topics: 2 in the Plenary session, 36 in the Oral Proffered Paper sessions, 112 in the Proffered Poster sessions and 2 in the Symposia. Prizes from AOGIN and AOFOG for the best proffered papers, oral and poster, were given away by Professor Eng Hseon Tay, Scientific Chair, AOGIN 2010, and Dr Kurian Joseph, Honorary Secretary General, AOFOG.
In the short period of its existence, AOGIN has quickly gathered momentum and is fulfilling an unmet need for education and fostering the spirit of research in the Asia Oceania region. All attendees of the conference are deemed to be members of AOGIN for the next two years. The next Interim Meeting of AOGIN is scheduled for March 2011 at Bali, Indonesia and the AOGIN 2012 meeting will be held in Hong Kong.