On November 15-18, 2009, the MDS Ambassador Program sponsored Michel Gonce, Belgium and James Bower, United States, to attend the First Bamako Neurosciences Congress in Bamako Mali. Bamako is the capital city of Mali, a country in West Africa. Currently in Mali, with a population of 13 million people, there are six neurologists, all located in Bamako. These neurologists received their training outside Mali, as Mali does not currently have a Neurosciences Program of its own. The Congress was organized with the leadership of Prof. Moussa Traoré, President of the University of Bamako.
All Congress activities were held at the International Conference Center in Bamako. The Opening Ceremony was presided over by the Prime Minister of Mali: Representative President of the Republic, Head of the State. Other figures present included the Malian Minister of Health and Malian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The Congress was divided into Plenary Sessions and Parallel Sessions taking place over three days. During the Abnormal Movements Session, Dr. Gonce lectured on, "Clinical Aspects and Physiopathology of Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome" and Dr. Bower lectured on "Overview of Gait Disorders." Dr. Gonce also presented a series of video cases. At the end of Dr. Gonce's presentation, he held a quiz in which three prizes were awarded. Additionally, during the Congress, Dr. Gonce lectured on "Treatment of Parkinson's Disease" and Dr. Bower lectured on "Neuroepidemiology in Africa." Both doctors' lectures were exceptionally well-received and they have been invited to return for future Congresses.
Over 250 delegates were in attendance from the following countries: Mali, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Djibouti, Morocco, France and Cuba. Prof. Traoré noted, "The Congress is a tremendous opportunity for Senior Neurologists in Africa to strengthen their expertise in a field as specialized, evolving and stimulating as the field of Neurosciences."