ICS News volume 4 no 1
Public Forum 2007
Rotterdam, Saturday 25 August 2007, De Doelen Congress Centre
On Saturday 25th August 2007, at the conclusion of the ICS Annual Meeting, the Continence Promotion Committee (CPC) co-hosted its first Public Forum at De Doelen Congress Centre in Rotterdam. This Public Forum was a joint venture between local Dutch patient and professional organisations, the ICS CPC and the World Federation of Incontinent Patients. It provided the perfect opportunity for the CPC and ICS to raise awareness and discuss issues of relevance to Continence Promotion.
The Forum received extensive media attention as a result of articles published in local Rotterdam newspapers on incontinence and the planned event, while mailings were carried out by patient organisations. This increased public awareness of the coming Forum greatly added to its successful attendance. Over 200 consumers participated making the first CPC sponsored Public Forum an overwhelming success.
The Public Forum was interactive and the audience was neither shy nor embarrassed about asking questions during panel discussions. Attendees paid a nominal registration fee and were provided with refreshments and lunch. During breaks, participants could enjoy the many displays of products and information on incontinence.
CPC Chairperson Diane Newman spearheaded the idea of a ICSCPC sponsored Public Forum with the assistance of CPC committee members and the CPC’s “Berlin Planning Group”. The planning of the Forum took approximately 18 months and its success was primarily due to the Dutch planning committee: Ulli Haase, Marijke Slieker, Lynne van Poelgeest, Stella Kroese and Bert Messelink with the valuable support and encouragement of ICS conference Chairman Prof Ruud Bosch. Thanks are also due to members of the CPC’s “Berlin Planning Group” and the ICS staff, particularly Carole Sales, for helping to make this first Public Forum a reality and a success and hopefully the first of many future events Since this first Forum was held in the Netherlands, the language of the day was Dutch. Moderator Marijke Slieker, Dutch physiotherapist and Forum organiser, put the audience at ease and introduced the speakers. Presenters from the Dutch Continence community included Bert Messelink, urologist, who provided a basic review of bladder and pelvic floor function, Ulli Haase discussed the role of the continence nurse, gynaecologist Mark Vierhout presented an extensive review of pelvic floor disorders including graphic pictures of prolapse. Pelvic floor therapist Francien Nijman led a stimulating interactive discussion by inviting the audience to participate in pelvic floor exercises, while neurologic conditions and brain-bladder physiology were discussed by neuroscientist Gert Holstege. A patient suffering from bladder dysfunction presented the audience with personal experiences followed by an interesting talk by sexologist Woet Gianotten.
ICS conference chair Ruud Bosch officially launched the newly formed Continence Foundation of the Netherlands. ICS 2008 Annual Meeting Chair, Sherif Mourad and the CPC are currently planning the next Forum which will be held on 24th October 2008 in Cairo, Egypt. Another new CPC initiative, the World Continence Awareness Week, under the direction of CPC committee member Vasan Satya Srini, will be announced in Cairo.
The CPC’s mission is to raise public awareness of bladder and bowel health issues so as to improve the lives of people with incontinence worldwide. The Public Forum is one way of focusing the attention of the general public and global medical community of the reality of life for people with incontinence. A formal report on the Dutch Public Forum will be posted on the ICS website (www. icsoffice.org).
A Forum booklet will be available as a model so that national continence organisations can benefit from the Dutch experience.