The World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases was hosted by the IOF and ESCEO on 23-27 March in Florence. The congress attracted a record number of over 4,000 delegates.
Professor John Kanis, President of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, presented awards to seven individual members for their dedication to the work of IOF and commitment to advancing education and awareness in their countries and region. The Asia – Pacific award was presented to Professor Kerrie Sanders - team leader of musculoskeletal science, health economics and nutrition at the Institute for Health and Ageing, Melbourne; Honorary position as Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne and member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory committee of Osteoporosis Australia and the IOF Committee of Scientific Advisors.
Many Australian researchers presented at the congress including (pictured left to right) Prof Peter Ebeling, Prof Belinda Beck, Prof Gustavo Duque, Prof Charles Inderjeeth.
The Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies was hosted in the days leading up to the congress and represented over 35 countries. The Know Your Bones consumer program launched by Osteoporosis Australia was featured among other success stories from patient societies. Greg Lyubomirsky, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia said “it is encouraging to see the programs being introduced in other parts of the world and share ideas from what has worked.” Further highlights at the Conference were the launch announcements of the upcoming Global Calcium Map and the IOF Global Patient Charter. Greg Lyubomirsky said “the patient charter will be focussed on achieving better outcomes for osteoporosis patients. For too long now we have heard about patients in Australia and overseas having fractures before they are diagnosed. We want to prevent fractures and push for better patient care.”
Osteoporosis patient from Finland Ritba-Liisa Aho shared her personal story at the conference. She had experienced 2 broken wrists, about 5 years apart, after simple
falls. She was treated in hospital on both occasions but it was not until her concerned children wanted further investigation that her doctor sent her for a bone density test where she was diagnosed with osteoporosis and then commenced on treatment. She said the diagnosis came as a complete shock to her at the time and she could only find limited information available. As a result she founded the first osteoporosis support group in her home town which has now been running for 10 years! Ritba is determined to help others avoid fractures through better awareness. She says with what she knows now she is very disappointed that medical action was not taken sooner to help her avoid a second broken wrist.
Patient societies in many countries work with limited staff and small budgets but they remain committed to raising awareness and reducing the number of broken bones caused by osteoporosis.
Representatives from Patient Societies
Top (left to right): Russia, Canada, Panama, South Africa, Greece, USA and Armenia.
Bottom (left to right): Israel, Indonesia, China with Osteoporosis Australia CEO, Greg Lyubomirsky and Syria.