The first ECTMIH took place in 1995 in Hamburg and was organised by a small community of experts in tropical medicine and international health.

Since then, the main objective of the Congress has remained the same: providing a platform for state-of-the-art updates, developments and breakthroughs in the field of tropical medicine and global health.

Gradually the Congress has widened its approach, not only focusing on global infectious diseases (malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS), tropical medicine and poverty-related health problems, but also by addressing a wider context, including strategies for control, elimination or eradication of communicable diseases and epidemic responsiveness to integration in sustainable health systems.

Non-communicable diseases, the organisation and financing of health systems and a wide range of other global health issues are now firmly part of the agenda.

Previous Congresses

After 21 years, ECTMIH returns to Liverpool, the city where the second Congress in 1998 was held. Since then, the Congresses have happened:

  • Third ECTMIH in Lisbon (2002)
  • Fourth in Marseille (2005), theme "Medicine and Health in the Tropics"
  • Fifth in Amsterdam (2007), theme "Partnership and Innovation in Global He@lth"
  • Sixth in Verona (2009), theme "Equity, Human Rights and Access to Care"
  • Seventh in Barcelona (2011), theme "Global Change, Migration and Health"
  • Eighth in Copenhagen (2013)
  • Ninth in Basel (2015), theme "Driving the Best Science to Meet Global Health Challenges"
  • Tenth in Antwerp (2017), theme "Health in (r)evolution: Environment – migration – technology – empowerment"

Change in focus and trends

The titles of the Congresses reflect a transition from mainly focusing on tropical diseases to also including debate on other issues in global health.

The Congress in Amsterdam was the first to include this focus in its programme and debate, including the role of new and innovative partnerships in health research.

This trend continued with the Verona Congress, involving a wider community in discussing the human rights dynamics in global health (see the Verona Declaration), up to the tenth ECTMIH in Antwerp which aimed “to provide a forum for reflection on the role and position of tropical medicine, global health and international cooperation in the 21st century, taking into consideration disruptive changes such as human migration, environmental evolution, technological innovation and political power shifts".

In addition, this tenth iteration of ECTMIH encouraged the active participation of researchers from LMICs, global thinkers, policy and decision makers in the programme, and included debates on the role of cooperation agencies and of scientific institutes in the field of global health.

Crosscutting themes were diagnostic innovation, drug resistance and development, global research ethics and the role of social sciences in international health research.

Format of the conferences

  • See programme booklets for the format (plenary, parallel, satellite, lunch sessions, sessions organised by the national societies). This will be released closer to the date of the Congress.
  • The organiser of the Congress is generally a national society in collaboration with leading academic institutes in the countries, and FESTMIH, in this case the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 
  • The number of registrations ranges from 1,500 (of which 1,000 for the full programme in Antwerp) to around 1,900 (of which some 625 attending the full programme in Basel).
  • Average of organised sessions: 100 (including special lunch and commercial sessions, Basel), in Antwerp this was around 54 sessions.
  • Sessions organised by National societies: around seven or eight. 
  • Format: plenary sessions in the morning; parallel sessions organised around thematic tracks.