Posted on July 29, 2014
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is pleased to present this interview with Dr. Jim te Water Naude, an International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) Board Member, Conference Chair, and a longtime friend of ADAO. The 12th International Mesothelioma Interest Group Conference – the world’s premier medical congress on mesothelioma – will be held on October 21 – 24, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Originally focused on research and treatment, this year’s iMig’s conference will also include social advocacy. We encourage you to register before August 19 for Early Bird rates. Read and share Jim’s unedited interview is below to learn more about Jim, the iMig conference, and their mission.
Linda: How long have you been working on asbestos issues in South Africa and around the world?
Jim: I’ve been working in this field since ~2003. I attended my first iMig meeting in 2006 in Chicago – it opened my eyes to the global nature of the asbestos related problems.
Linda: When did you join the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig)?
Jim: At their 2006 meeting organised by Drs Hedy Kindler and Sam Armato – I was struck by their humanity despite struggling with some of the most vexed technical and scientific questions.
Linda: How will the 12th iMig conference differ from the past ones?
Jim: It’s the first time an iMig conference will be held in Africa and in a lesser-resourced country. Hopefully we will see new faces, but I’m sure Oluf Roe will play his violin, Sjaak Burgers will crack jokes and Bruce Robinson and Valerie Rusch will comment factually and pithily. We may also introduce a Vuvuzela award!
Linda: This is this first iMig conference to have a ‘social advocacy’ session on the agenda. What is your vision?
Jim: While we need science to lead the way in finding a cure to mesothelioma, we need to involve key societal role-players, as no problem of this complexity and magnitude is solved without the wider involvement of society.
Linda: What changes have you seen since the founding of iMig in 1991?
Jim: It has grown immensely, on all fronts.
Linda: What are the most promising advancements for mesothelioma patients?
Jim: Personalized medicine and the growth of social media declaring war on asbestos.
Linda: Since South Africa banned asbestos in 2008, what changes have you seen in asbestos prevention, abatement, and remediation efforts?
Jim: Very little unfortunately. With South Africa’s diverse social problems, asbestos languishes far behind in priority.
Linda: What is your message for mesothelioma patients?
Jim: You are the bravest people I know. We will continue to work for you and future generations in our quest for prevention and cure.