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BTS/RA congress in UK and CME in Egypt

JF local organising team CME Aswan Mar 2013The weather contrasts continue to challenge me as I decide what I need in the suitcase for the next trip. The UK Renal Association meeting on the wintry south coast of England, and then a CME in Upper Egypt, complete with two incredibly hot (for a Brit) days and a sandstorm!

The UK Renal Association meeting was in partnership with the British Transplantation Society – so just the opportunity to promote the newly launched ISN-TTS Transplant Sister Center program. There were plenty of enquiries, as there were the following week in Egypt, so I suspect Paul Harden and the ISN GO SRC Committee and his opposite number in TTS, Jeremy Chapman, are going to be inundated with good quality proposals.

I hope you will allow me to indulge myself a little while I congratulate my colleagues and friends in the UK for the major contribution they are now making to ISN. The UK has about 1000 nephrologists (including those in training), but 300 are now ISN members and this has doubled in the last 5 years. This year and next year, the UK will be hosting 8 ISN Fellows (14% of all fellowships), and the UK is the supporting center for 7 Sister Renal Centers (20% of the total).

The Renal Association also has an active International Committee (chaired most effectively over the last few years by Albert Ong) which has helped to promote these opportunities for ISN involvement. This Committee has for a number of years been organising an international symposium during the annual Renal Association Congress. This year an excellent and varied program attracted a lot of attention – Gavin Dreyer, still a UK nephrology trainee, described his remarkable recent experiences helping develop nephrology in Malawi.

Mona Al-Rhukami (UAE) explained the origins, achievements, and continuing challenges of the Declaration of Istanbul and Alan Cass (Australia) spoke about the challenges of improving kidney health among disadvantaged populations, focusing on his work among Australian Aboriginals. Finally I had the chance to give a lecture on ‘global nephrology’. It was great to see the interest this session generated with many talking to me over the next couple of days about how they can increase their personal efforts in support of ISN. Why don’t you consider talking to the program committee for your national nephrology congress, and see if they would include a session on global nephrology?

And now I am on my way home from an excellent CME in Egypt organised by Adel Bakr and his colleagues from Mansoura University in partnership with the Egyptian and Arab Societies of Nephrology and the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation. The highlight for me of the meeting was the excellent case presentations – and the quality of the discussion they provoked.

I am always anxious when I am asked to take part in ‘Ask the Expert’ sessions and this time I was right to be anxious. Three severely challenging cases of glomerular disease, incorporating issues related to transplantation. I felt far from expert – there was little I could say – the cases had been expertly managed, the problems were complex, and there were no easy solutions – but nevertheless there was lively discussion among both local and international faculty. A conventional program of lectures remains a standard part of a CME (and we know from our impact assessment of ISN-supported CMEs this approach is much appreciated). Nevertheless I hope that more and more ISN-supported CMEs will also contain such case discussions which senior and junior colleagues alike find very stimulating.

67 days until the Opening Ceremony in Hong Kong. See you there!

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