1400 medical experts from a total of 46 countries assembled at the 30th annual meeting of the International Continence Society, ICS, in Tampere, Finland, August 28.
The Continence Promotion Committee, CPC, of the ICS, arranged a Networking Forum. The CPC has the challenge to promote education, services and public awareness about incontinence throughout the world, and to facilitate communication, exchange of information and partnerships between continence organizations.
The Networking Forum was co-chaired by Christine Norton, St. Mark's Hospital, Harrow, England and David Fonda, Caulfield General Medical Centre, Vic., Australia.
Presentations of members from various national continence organisations from Australia, the Netherlands, Korea, UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark and Austria outlined major initiatives and achievements in 1999, and plans under way for 2000/2001.
The use of the Internet and web facilities were discussed. A new issue of Continence Worldwide was launched to the meeting. The newsletter provides a forum for exchange of news and ideas between all the various continence related organizations. At present twenty of the organizations have their own websites. More sites are planned. Links have been created from Continence Worldwide to each national organization's site.
"The intention is not to duplicate the excellent information available at those sites, but just to make them as widely accessible as possible. It seems that an international network of information is well under way." says Christine Norton.
"Urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide but for which up to 70% of sufferers seek no help. Continence promotion activities must target not only the incontinence sufferers and their families but also the general community, health professionals, the industry that manufactures continence products and drugs, and the government which is responsible for funding directly or indirectly various programmes. Continence promotion programmes must therefore be sufficiently flexible to target these groups about what incontinence is, what can be done about it, and where to get help, and most importantly to de-stigmatise this condition. The Internet facilities, Continet, Continence Worldwide and national organization's sites are evolving as tools to reach all these groups." says David Fonda.
Programme Networking Forum Chris Norton, nurse specialist, St. Mark’s Hospital, Harrow, Great Britain Ilan E. Gruenwald, urologist, The National Centre for Continence, Haifa, Israel Jill Brown, physiotherapist, New Zealand Continence Association, New Zealand Edward Leung, professor, Hong Kong Continence Society Jeanette Haslam, physiotherapist, Association for Continence Advice & European Network of Continence Organization, UK & Germany