12th Annual Meeting

Post Event Report

Pakistan Society for the Study of Liver Diseases (PSSLD) organized its 12th Annual Meeting in Karachi 13th to 16th December 2018. The meeting was endorsed by World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) and American College of Gastroenterology (ACG). The theme of the meeting was “Problem Based Hepatology”.

This was a very well attended and successful meeting that brought together leading researchers and practitioners who delivered informative and thought-provoking lectures, presented research papers and exchanged their knowledge and views so that information on prevention and care of Liver disease could be disseminated to the wider medical and health care community.

Liver diseases are common globally but Pakistan has an enormous share of this problem mainly due to chronic Hepatitis B & C. We are still living in an age where people who otherwise are not suffering from hepatitis are still being exposed to the practice of reuse of disposable equipment, practice of treatment by unsafe injections and ‘drips’ and non-standardized methods used by blood banks.

The organizing committee of 12th Annual Meeting of PSSLD prepared a very innovative and extensive four day scientific program to understand the latest trends of Liver diseases especially new guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis by oral agents, advances in the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hepatocellular carcinoma, new paradigms and protocols for the treatment of liver diseases.

The international faculty of the conference included the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) President, Prof. Cihan Yurdaydin (Turkey), Immediate Past President of The Transplant Society Prof. Nancy Ascher (USA) and the Faculty from the Fellows of American College of Gastroenterology (ACG). The faculty members of the event who came from the USA were Prof. Robert Gish (Stanford), Prof. Nancy Ascher (UCSF), Prof. John P. Robert (UCSF), Prof. Norah Terrault (UCSF), Prof. Mehnaz Shafi (MD Anderson), Dr. Bilal Hameed (UCSF), Dr. Khalid Mumtaz (Ohio), Dr. Faisal Jafri (Kansas), and Dr. Tariq Shakoor. Other international faculty members were Prof. Ting Wu (China), Dr. Lu Wang (China), Prof. Kamil Yalcin Polat (Turkey), Prof. Fazle Akbar (Japan), Dr. Nadeem Tehami (UK), and Dr. Aaron Lim (UK).

Pre-conference hands-on workshop on endoscopy and Interventional procedures related to liver and pancreatic diseases was held at National Institute of Liver and G. I Diseases (NILGID) on 13th December. The second day of the meeting was devoted to the Postgraduate Course on “Living Donor Liver Transplantation (LDLT)” for hepatologists, liver surgeons and postgraduate students. Lectures were delivered by the international and national faculty about the indication, technical aspects, management, and ethical issues related to LDLT.

On the evening of the same day, Joint WGO-PSSLD Symposium was organized with the title of “Viral Hepatitis B & C: Lift the Global Burden”. The symposium was well attended by government officials, non-government organizations, decision-makers, health policy, and planning stakeholders. World Health Organization’s target for elimination of Hepatitis B and C by 2030 appears to be a dream for Pakistan, where about 10 million people are infected with viral hepatitis while a significant number of them die each year due to complications of the infection including end-stage liver disease, liver failure, and liver cancer. Experts from different countries of the world including President of World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) Prof. Cihan Yurdaydin, Prof. Norah A. Terrault from the United States, Dr. Aaron Lim from the United Kingdom, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Fazle Akbar from Japan shared different models and strategies to wipe out hepatitis B and C from the world.

President of PSSLD Prof. Masood Siddiq said that Pakistan was among one of the most affected countries due to hepatitis B and C where it was fast spreading among those who inject drugs and by reuse of syringes, transfusion of blood screened by substandard methods, and use of unsterile razors at barber shops. He called for mass screening throughout the country to ascertain the actual data of disease burden and plan treatment of the infected people.

Eminent gastroenterologist, Patron of PSSLD and Director WGO Training Center Karachi Prof. Wasim Jafri said that despite poor situation with regard to Hepatitis B and C in Pakistan, this menace could be eliminated through concentrated efforts and called for joint efforts by the federal, provincial governments and private sector to screen, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis patients in Pakistan.

“Unfortunately, despite the availability of huge resources, our efforts are not concentrated and collaborative and in this way, we are not making any impact. All the stakeholders including federal and provincial governments, private sector and NGOs need to work together to eliminate this menace, which is very much doable”, Prof. Jafri observed.

Chair Organizing Committee and Vice President of PSSLD, Prof. Zaigham Abbas commented on a strategy of micro-elimination. At the moment, there was no hope of Hepatitis B and C elimination from Pakistan by 2030 as there were millions of patients who were still undiagnosed and they were silently spreading these infections to other people, he added. This situation could lead to serious consequences for Pakistan. Community-based micro-elimination strategies to educate, vaccinate, screen, treat, and prevent complications may help in suppressing the spread of hepatitis. “Pakistanis could face travel restrictions in the future where people could be asked to provide evidence that they were hepatitis B and C negative to enter other countries of the world where hepatitis had been eliminated”, he warned and asked for creating mass awareness about these diseases among people so that they could get themselves screened, and treated.

Chair, Hepatology Interest Group, WGO, and Former PSSLD President Prof. Saeed Hamid highlighted his efforts for community-based based screening and treatment to eliminate hepatitis. He deplored that due to a variety of reasons, a large number of people were not opting for treatment despite getting diagnosed for Hepatitis B and C. “In Malir district of Karachi, the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C is around 24 percent which is very alarming. We have worked with community and screened many patients but the majority of them did not turn up for the treatment due to a variety of reasons”, he informed and called for creating awareness among people about hepatitis.

The 3rd day of the event allocated for conference plenary sessions and State-of-the-Art lectures and presentations. There were symposia on hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The conference dinner was arranged at Mohatta Palace where guest speakers were graced with traditional Sindhi Ajrak and cap gifted by the Society. Prof. Masood Siddiq, President PSSLD, Prof. Zaigham Abbas, Chair Scientific Committee, Dr. Faisal Wasim Ismail, Chair scientific Committee, Prof. Cihan Yurdandin, President WGO and Prof. Nancy Ascher, Immediate Past President, The Transplantation Society made short informal addresses. Prof. Saeed Hamid delivered Oration for Distinguished Achievement Award. Recipient of this Award this year was Prof. Wasim Jafri who thanked all the nomination committee for choosing him. The conference dinner was followed by a musical evening in which several traditional artists performed folk dances. Famous artist and renowned opinion leader Shahzad Roy sang some of his popular songs related to social injustice. He accepted to become an ambassador to raise awareness for hepatitis.

The fourth day of the event started with free paper and poster reviewing sessions followed by symposia on portal hypertension and non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease. At the closing ceremony prizes were distributed to the young investigators for the best oral and poster presentation. The services of the sponsors were recognized by awarding them shields. The event closed at lunch.

Highlights of Event
  • Post Graduate Course
  • Workshops
  • State Of The Art Lectures
  • Scientific Symposia
  • Poster Presentation
  • Free Papers
  • Exhibition
  • Social Program
General Information

Language: The official language of the meeting is English, simultaneous translation will not be provided.

Climate: In December temperatures in Karachi range from 20C – 25C.

Time Zone: The time zone in Pakistan is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 5 hour.

Banking and Exchang: The Pakistan monetary system is the RUPEE (PKR). foreign currency may be changed at banks during normal banking hours (0900-1600), at hotels, at airports and in exchange offices. All major credit cards are acceptable in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Liability and Insurance: The organizer is not able to take any responsibility whatsoever for injury or damage involving persons and property during the meeting. Participants are advised to take out their own personal travel and health insurance for their trip.

Official Letter of Invitation: A personal letter of invitation can be send to the participants. The request must be sent by 30th October 2018 to drghauri@pssld.org.pk

Visa Requirements: Participants are requested to check with the Pakistani embassy/consulate in their home country or with their travel agency for visa requirements. It is the responsibility of the participant to obtain a visa if required.

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