Christine Norton & David Fonda, co-chairs, CPC
10th Anniversary - A Decade of Continence Promotion
Welcome to the 10th anniversary celebration edition of “Continence Worldwide”. In 1993 at the International Continence Society (ICS) meeting in Rome we held our first networking meeting for continence organisations and others interested in promoting continence from around the world. We were amazed at how many people were interested, how much we had in common, and how much we have to learn from each other. We decided to formalise a networking group and called ourselves the “Continence Promotion Committee” (CPC). Since then, we have held meetings and workshops every year in conjunction with the annual ICS meetings and produced this newsletter to inform the broader ICS membership about continence promotion activities around the world. Some of our themes have been around prevention, education, fund raising, promotion, an dmeeting the challenge of reaching the general practitiioner (GP).
In 1993 there were a handful of small continence promotion organisations scattered around the globe, with almost no contact with each other. Today there are 35 organisations in 25 countries (see the back pages of this newsletter), as well as “umbrella” organisations such as the Asia Pacific Continence Advisory Board to co-ordinate activities on a pan-regional basis. We have shared information, ideas and materials and helped new countries to get started and learn from the experiences (good and not so good) of others. Initially, most organisations had no paid employees and were run by volunteers. Today you will see contributions in this newsletter from “Director”, “Communications Manager” and “Promotions Manager”. We have come a long way.
During this decade the ICS has formally recognised the CPC as one of its constituent committees, with a seat on the ICS Board. The International Consultation on Incontinence has included a committee on “Promotion, organisation and education in continence care” in its first two meetings and this will continue for the third consultation in 2004. Many health care systems have started to pay attention to incontinence as a serious health care issue and national governments have funded major initiatives (such as the AHCPR Guidelines in the USA and the National Continence Management Strategy in Australia). The climate for continence promotion has changed, thanks mostly to the efforts of ICS members in their different countries.
Few would have envisaged a “Black Tie Gala for Continence” (see Simon Foundation) or a “Urologists Continence Rope-jumping Marathon” (see Korea) a decade ago. As competition for public and media attention intensifies from all quarters, we will need to be increasingly creative and ingenious in our efforts to promote the positive continence message. To share our ideas with each other will lessen the burden on each of us.
Thanks are due to many people for the success of the CPC and we cannot mention all. But we would like to acknowledge particularly the support of Paul Abrams as Honorary Secretary of the ICS in establishing the CPC as a formal entity of the ICS; and the help of Bengt Bengtsson who has supported and maintained our networking website www.continenceworldwide.org.
At the ICS meeting in Florence we are formally retiring as joint chairs of the CPC and handing over to Diane Newman as the incoming chair. We wish her well and will support her however we can. New blood is always welcome, so please contact any of the committee members if you are interested in becoming involved with the CPC. And please join us for a “Continence Fair” to exhibit the activities of continence organisations during the lunchtime of Thursday 9th October. That wil be followed by our annual networking meeting which this year will be on the theme of promoting continence to culturally and liguistically diverse communities.
A decade ago the International Continence Society was a well-established scientific society dedicated to the promotion of scientific research on incontinence, presented each year at its annual conference. But there is little point in excellent research if the majority of incontinent people have no accessible services or are too embarrassed and ashamed to seek help. Through the activities of the Continence Promotion Committee the ICS and its constituent members have come, over the past decade, to see their mission as broader than scientific research. Today the home page of the ICS website carries the message “The ICS actively encourages continence promotion throughout the world”. Long may it continue to do so!
Please enjoy the complete new edition of 10th anniversary celebration edition available in pdf-format.
Continence Worldwide is produced with the help of an educational grant from SCA Hygiene Products.