Great CIP 2014 under difficult circumstances

It’s hard enough trying to organise a high-level consensus conference involving many different subspecialties, but having to do it in Bangkok at a time of political upheaval is the ultimate test. Despite these odds, the 3rd Global Congress for Consensus in Pediatrics & Child Health (CIP 2014) proceeded as planned on 13-16 February at the Millenium Hilton. Credit has to be given to Prof Manuel Katz, President of the Global Initiative for Consensus in Pediatrics and Dr Shimon Barak along with their coordinators for the success of CIP 2014. The local organising chairperson was Prof Usa Thisyakorn.

Covering topics ranging from neonatology through cardiology, nutrition and vaccinology to paediatric education, the congress provided an excellent forum for learning and discourse. With iconic names in almost every subspecialty from every continent, it was the best possible thing that could happen in Asia. It was unfortunate that many delegates had to cancel their travel due to news reports of unrest in Bangkok – a fact that was furthest from the truth on the ground. Quoting one of the invited speakers “It was just a level 2 warning given by our government and my university staff said people are protesting everyday anyway!” That sentiment was not shared by everybody as there were also speakers and delegates who said they “cannot attend because of the chaos in Bangkok”.

More could have come

Out of an expected turnout of at least 1300, only 850 registered for the congress. Those who did not turn up missed a massive opportunity to learn and interact with the top figures in Paediatrics and Child Health. The first plenary started with an impressive talk by Ron Dagan followed by a videotaped presentation by Margaret Fisher. It was a pity that her talk had to be done by videotape and no discussion could be entertained.

In plenary 2, different representatives from the region were given the opportunity to express what they felt ‘consensus’ meant to them and how these impacted their practice or how they could be implemented in resource deprived nations. It was interesting to note how consensuses were developed in developed nations compared with the developing world (that relied on adapting and modifying the 1st world documents). The time-sensitive nature of these consensuses also meant more time spent developing them, a resource that is scarce in the developing world.

The best part of CIP was listening to mature critical discussions on various topics and watching the interaction among different specialists on common topics. AAP Associate Executive Director Jon Klein and Zulfiqar Bhutta had to give their talks via Skype from the US and Canada.

Cosy gala dinner

The gala dinner was a cosy affair at the Supatra River House along the banks of the Chao Phraya river with typical traditional Thai dance entertainment. The boat ride to the restaurant was just right to stimulate our appetites and the food was indescribably sumptuous. The cool breeze, entertaining company and good food – the best ever combination for a relaxing dinner after two days of grueling conferencing!

The combination of an excellent well thought-out scientific programme with top opinion leaders and typically warm Thai hospitality made CIP 2014 a true success. The less-than-satisfactory attendance was unavoidable despite efforts by many to persuade our Asian colleagues to attend. We at APPA hope that the CIP 2015 on 19-22 March 2015 in Marrakesh, Morocco will see better attendance. Until then, the memory of Bangkok will linger in our minds.

Zulkifli Ismail
President, APPA