Dear ISPD friends and colleagues
Although it is just over 4 months since I became the ISPD president, a lot has already happened. But before updating you all, I want to take this opportunity to extend good wishes to you all for the New Year and hope that you had some time to relax and celebrate with families and friends. 2022 has certainly been a rollercoaster year starting with continuing pandemic restrictions, but as these eased we have had the excitement associated with return of travel, in person meetings and the pleasure of getting together again with friends and colleagues. The very successful ISPD meeting in Singapore in August 2022 demonstrated the value of being together in comparison to seeing each other in square boxes on screens.
As a society, we have learnt a lot from the Covid experience. For some of us, it resulted in harder work with PD at long last being recognised as a successful dialysis modality for AKI even in ITU’s in high income countries, and for many PD units, there has been an increase in the number of patients starting PD with the rather belated realisation from doubting colleagues that there are many advantages of dialysis at home. But it is not just in the clinical arena that things have changed. The increased use of digital technologies during Covid has changed the way that we as a society communicate with each other and deliver education. Looking forward into 2023, this will continue to evolve with an active webinar education programme with the opportunity of targeting to the needs of individual countries. With the use of now well-established video-conferencing, committees can be much more active than in previous years. And for Council meetings we are investing in technology to enable hybrid meetings so that many more members can attend. We are also undertaking a review of how we use social media to enhance society activities.
In my first letter on becoming President, I stated that I wanted to broaden Committee membership and involve new people, develop greater nurse involvement and develop activities that support increased growth of PD globally. I am delighted to report that we had many applications for committee membership and some people were disappointed – but now knowing who they are, we hope to involve them in other activities. I am particularly pleased to say that we now have our first Committee Chair who is a nurse and will therefore sit on Council, and a nurse deputy-chair who will join Council in 2026 on becoming a committee chair. This is in addition to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Nursing Liaison Committee. The aim of increasing PD growth globally is being supported by the development of the International Home Dialysis Consortium in collaboration with the ISN. The aim is to have a launch meeting at WCN 2024 with plans being developed for this at a meeting in Bangkok during WCN 2023. ISPD is also being asked to develop symposia, contribute speakers and/or policy forums at several meetings including: AFRAN (February), WCN (March), Korea (April), SLANH (May), ERA (June), EuroPD (November).
Finally, I would like us all to think about why and what is the value of being a member of ISPD. For many, it is to have access to Peritoneal Dialysis International. This continues to flourish and develop with Jeff Perl as editor who has started some fantastic education initiatives, is involving younger PD colleagues as well as publishing excellent research contributions. Many PD team members, though, are not so interested in PDI access – they can get it through university libraries, from colleagues or are not research minded. Being a member, one can become involved in committees and work groups including those involved with writing and updating guidelines. But I would also like to see ISPD becoming a club that PD professionals (nurses, doctors, dieticians, industry partners and others) want to belong to and get support from. We therefore need to look at different types of membership and communication tools to achieve this. With the development of group memberships and different rates of fees, we now have over 1000 members. I am hoping for many more by the end of my time as president.
The next time we meet as a society is in Dubai in September 2024 when we shall also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the formation of ISPD. Before then, the North American Chapter will be meeting during the Annual Dialysis Congress in March and the Asian-Pacific chapter will be holding its own meeting in Delhi in September.
With best wishes to you all for 2023 – and hoping that there are many opportunities for us as PD colleagues to get together and promote the vision of ISPD: “A future in which PD is freely available and equitably accessible worldwide as a reliable, affordable, sustainable and life-saving option for patients with acute kidney injury or end stage kidney disease.”