As we approach the festive season and the end of the year it is opportune to take time to reflect on WGO activities for 2014.
Without seeming to be singling any one in particular and at a risk of missing out others I would like to reflect on some of these activities. In typical TTTs style I wish to highlight what was done well and what may be done better if given the opportunity again.
Training Centres: These have been central to much of our organization’s energies over the last 12 months. The reason is obvious; the Training Centres are what defines WGO as the organization focused on education, particularly in the developing world. We have had a significant number of new applications for Training Centres and in the next few months seven new centres shall be launched. I will take particular pleasure in helping to launch these new centres and seeing their development and achievements over the years to come.
A major advance for the management and continuing support of the centres is the electronic reporting system which has been developed. This tool will enable us to gather data which will permit follow up of the trainees and allow reporting of sound data on outcomes.
This has also been the year when one of my dear wishes of further involving our member societies in the activities of the Training Centres has been enhanced. The British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) organized a training course for our Training Centre directors so that as we move forward in 2015 we may have a standard developed for training in endoscopy. This generous support of our British colleagues is very much appreciated and augers well for a continuing involvement of the BSG with WGO educational activities.
I also wish to acknowledge and thank all of the other member societies which continue to support the work at the Training Centres and invite those societies which have not become involved to do so by contacting WGO.
Train the Trainers (TTTs): A very successful TTTs was held in Cape Town, South Africa, with the support of the South African Gastroenterology Society (SAGES). Participants from over 20 member societies took part and along with the locals enjoyed a week of activities which characterize the TTTs experience. As always the continuing support of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) has been crucial to the support of this programme and I would like to personally thank the ACG board for their commitment to WGO. We now look forward to Taipei for the next TTTs in April 2015.
The Guidelines Committee continue their invaluable work with revision of existing guidelines as well as developing new ones for presentation at our next major congress next year.
World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) featured probiotics and the gut. Over 50% of our member societies organized events to highlight the day and the theme for the year. I hope that the number of participating societies will increase over the next year as we head towards our congress in Brisbane.
The WGO Foundation and its board have had a great year with increasing funds donated hence helping to support much of the work of WGO. We hope that from this base an increase in contributions will eventuate. Please keep the Foundation in mind when philanthropic opportunities arise in your region.
As always the support of our industry partners has made the difference in the success of many of our programmes. I wish to thank our friends in the biomedical industry who have supported the WGO educational activities in 2014.
Other of our committees, such as the Scientific Programmes Committee, the Endoscopy Interest Group, and the Hepatology Interest Group have been very busy and active in developing the content and support for Gastro 2015. The fruits of their endeavors will be obvious at the Brisbane meeting.
During the year I and members of the WGO Executive Committee have had the pleasure of visiting a number of our member societies during their annual meetings. We have at all times been hosted with warmth and generosity illustrating to us the worth that our members hold for the work that is done by WGO.
I have been very fortunate to have a loyal and hardworking Executive Committee and Governing Council. This is not to say that we all agree on everything that is discussed. However it is testament to the friendships developed that opposing views can be aired and ultimately decisions made in what we believe are in the best interests of the member societies and the thousands of colleagues that we represent.
At all times we are supported by an excellent secretariat led by Caley Mutrie who more often than not works far beyond her call to duty. This of course occurs often when one is dealing with people from five continents.
Next year is a big year for WGO. It is the year of the first of our two yearly congresses. Gastro 2015 (gastro2015.com) will be held from September 28th to October 2nd in the subtropical city of Brisbane in my home country Australia. Along with my colleagues in the Gastroenterology Society of Australia (GESA), we aim to host the best international gastroenterology meeting ever held and introduce a new paradigm for meetings in our specialty. Come and see what we have in mind!!
Wishing you and your families a very merry festive season and a Happy New Year!
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation