The fifth Global Conference on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) has officially been opened in Accra Tuesday, with a call on stakeholders in the health sector to do more in fighting the infection.

As a flagship program of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Network (ReSViNET) Foundation, an international leading non-profit organization committed to reducing the global burden of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection, the three-day conference is designed to discuss new preventive and therapeutic interventions in the fight against the virus.

Physicians, researchers, health practitioners, civil society groups, governmental agencies from all over the world will at this conference, share expertise on the phenomenon of respiratory virus infection especially in children and find ways to better combat the condition.

Ghanaian health institutions expected to participate include the Ghana Health Service, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Standards Authority, Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Coalition of NGOs in health among others.

Opening the conference at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayele Mensah commended ReSViNET Foundation on the initiative adding that government supports this conference and other measures crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Respiratory Virus Conference
Cross-section of participants at the opening session

“I wish to use this opportunity to commend ReSViNET Foundation for this great initiative and for bringing together Health Practitioners, Researchers, as well as Governmental bodies, NGOs and all relevant stakeholders of health to join the conversation regarding fight against RSV morbidity and mortality among children in Ghana and the world as a whole.

“My presence here today is a proof of the endorsement of this gathering by government and to also show our commitment in leaving no stone unturned as we continue to mount and implement effective and efficient measures crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” she remarked.

The virus, human respiratory syncytial virus, is a virus that causes respiratory tract infections. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than a year in most countries.

After Malaria, RSV is the biggest cause of hospitalization and mortality of young infants and yet there remains no vaccine for it with limited therapeutic options for treatment compounding the problem.

Chairman of ReSViNET, Dr Louis Bont said the conference is, therefore, one of the key initiatives meant to bring health expertise and leadership together to find ways of decreasing the global burden of RSV infection.