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
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.
The Berlin Planning Group 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
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
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 Forum booklet will be available as a model so that national
continence organisations can benefit from the Dutch experience.