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World Gastroenterology Organisation
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January 2014

The first month of the new year is almost at an end and we approach a time of the year when a large percentage of the world population are celebrating major events on their calendar.

For instance, to those celebrating the Lunar New Year I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you a merry festive season and happy new year. Furthermore, to our Indian and Australian colleagues I also wish you congratulations and best wishes on your respective national day (26th of January for both countries). Every so often the Australian and Indian national cricket teams celebrate their national day with a match in my home city of Adelaide. I very much look forward to the next one a year from now, as it illustrates what good can be achieved when we choose to play and work together. Events such as these occur in all parts of the world and contribute to the wonderful tapestry that makes our society so rich. I will be pleased to acknowledge these, please let me know.

In WGO we aim to create an environment of international and multicultural involvement. There has been a lot of activity over the last few weeks in further fostering the education and training aims of WGO at training centres in Africa. I am pleased to acknowledge the involvement of our member societies who have taken up the invitation to join us under the international umbrella of WGO in helping to improve the standard of care in gastroenterology through education. I hope that in subsequent letters to provide more detailed information regarding these activities.

Since my last letter just prior to Christmas I have been delighted to receive a number of emails from colleagues from around the world offering their ideas and help in WGO activities. I thank you for these ideas and promise to put them forward for discussion with my colleagues on the Executive. I look forward to many more of your suggestions.

I am pleased to note that our next TTTs workshop in Cape Town has been very popular and indeed oversubscribed. It is always very difficult to have to exclude colleagues from these events and hope that those who have been unsuccessful in their application on this occasion (due to the restriction on numbers) shall consider applying for the next TTTs which will take place in Taiwan in April of 2015.

WGO is one of the oldest Gastroenterology organisations: Historically the formation of a World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) was first discussed in Paris under the leadership of Dr. Henry L. Bockus in 1954. On 29th May 1958, the WGO was constituted in Washington, D.C. Initially founded as a forum on digestive disorders and disease in the developed world, the WGO today is a global federation of over 100 member societies representing over 50,000 gastroenterologists and is dedicated to serving the needs of its member societies and promoting digestive health world wide and especially in developing and emerging societies. The 29th May is annually celebrated as World Digestive Health Day (WDHD). Each year a digestive theme is chosen to focus activities for WDHD. I wish to invite all of our member societies and colleagues to join us in celebrating WDHD by raising awareness with the public at large of significant GI problems in the world. The theme for this year shall be GUT MICROBES: Importance in Health and Disease. For details of how you and your society may become involved visit www.wgofoundation.org/wdhd-2014.html.

Whilst the celebrations on 29th of May may not be of the significance of the Lunar New Year or major national days it can never the less be of great significance to our many patients by raising awareness on medical problems which impact their daily lives. I invite you to join us by becoming involved.

 

James Toouli
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation