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ASPAE in Botswana 2015

Report from ASPAE Botswana, 6-8 May 2015

It was my privilege to represent ISPAD at this meeting. Since I was a PETCA tutor in Nairobi at the time of a previous conference, I knew quite a number of delegates including the local organiser, Dr Dipesalema Joel (seen here seated in the front row).

Approximately 70 delegates attended from across Africa but the programme had to be altered radically because several speakers had been unable to get visas or to raise enough sponsorship to travel. Nonetheless, the programme was an excellent mix of the aspirational and the practical with more than passing reference to the political realities. Advocacy, education and science were all to the fore and there was an invaluable session on preparing manuscripts for publication. I trust that some will appear in Pediatric Diabetes. Although I was already aware, there were numerous reminders of the huge obstacles that our African colleagues face in performing even simple audits and their efforts in overcoming adversity demand our continued support.

A speaker from Tanzania gave an excellent description of how the service there has evolved with 36 clinics across the country and fa

irly good access to insulin partly through Life for a Child and CDiC. It was striking that they have recently had three deaths from renal failure as they have no dialysis facilities. While this is depressing and may raise questions about the worth of making drugs and expertise available, Professor Francois De Villiers from Pretoria gave a compelling lecture on why insulin intensification is essential, even if only mixed insulin is available, and how to achieve it. The growing band of committed and trained paediatricians will, I hope, soon be joined by trained diabetes nurses and ISPAD will have an important role in supporting this although the training must be largely in Africa and targeted at better use of limited resources. I am sure that some of the problems around loss to follow-up could be eased by innovative use of the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones.

The agenda was packed and the timing rigorous. Although, as is always the case, a few delegates said little in the open meetings, the coff

ee and meal breaks left no doubt that much discussion was triggered and I have every confidence that, with continuing ESPE and ISPAD support, ASPAE will continue to thrive.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Kenneth Robertson



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