Monday, 04 June 2018 13:55

ISN Latin America Regional Board tries new regional board workshop approach in Cartagena

Once every two years, ISN Regional Boards are tasked to organise a ‘workshop’ within the context of one of their regional meetings, with the aim of providing outreach to unaware nephrologists of ISN programs and activities in the region. The workshops have taken many formats; most often, they consist in open meetings where ISN leaders present ISN programs and activities and then open the floor for questions. 

Most regional boards report mitigated success with these workshops: low attendance, and difficulty attracting non-ISN members to attend. Certain regions have even discontinued these workshops, given the low attendance. 

Aware that a new approach was needed for these workshops, the ISN Latin-America Regional Board (LARB) discussed ways they could re-structure their upcoming workshop in Cartagena, Colombia. ISN LARB Chair Ezequiel Bellorin-Font underlined, ‘the major role of the ISN Regional Board is to remain attentive to the issues and needs in the region, and translate these into concrete ISN action and operational plans. The structure of these regional workshops need to reflect this.’

With this in mind, a new program was developed and tested in Cartagena last April. The workshop was programmed in the afternoon, the day before the conference. It was included in the online and print congress program (as a Symposium), and promoted to ISN membership and in social media networks. 

In terms of program agenda, Leaders from Latin America were invited to present on regional issues, and nephrologists were asked to present national case studies: on El Salvador, with its alarming chronic kidney disease of unknown origin epidemic, as well as Uruguay and Colombia with success stories about national registries and universal dialysis health coverage. 

Presentations were followed by an open forum discussion with all participants on the various issues in nephrology throughout Latin America; country stories were shared on ESKD care in Bolivia and Mexico, import tax issues on dialysis machines and supplies were also discussed, along with the Venezuelan crisis and how the global nephrology community should lend support to nephrologists and patients. This all in the presence of ISN President David Harris and SLANH president Alfonso Cueto Manzano, who noted and discussed how ISN and SLANH could work hand in hand to better support the issues brought up at this workshop in the future. 

The workshop counted 25 participants from 12 Latin American countries. Participants as well as ISN leaders found the program very participatory and interactive. The timing of the workshop, while not interfering with other congress sessions, did seem to be a limiting factor for those who hadn’t yet arrived in Cartagena. The board will continue to strive to find the ‘perfect’ moment for their workshop, and plans to maintain a similar format in their next workshop in Lima, Perú during SLANH 2019. 

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