Dear ISPD colleagues and friends
Most importantly, I want to take this opportunity to extend good wishes to you all for the New Year and hope that you have had some time to relax and celebrate with families and friends. For me, this quieter period has been an opportunity to reboot after what has been a very busy 2023 for ISPD in anticipation of an even busier 2024 culminating in the ISPD 2024 meeting and 40th anniversary celebration in Dubai September 26th – 29th.
Last year, I wrote about the pleasure of emerging from the strictures of the Covid pandemic with in-person meetings and networking. 2023 has certainly seen the fruition of this with ISPD symposia and lectures at AFRAN (February), WCN (April), KSN (April), SLANH (May), ERA (June). In September, there was the successful ISPD Asia-Pacific Chapter meeting in Delhi. We did learn, though, during the pandemic that with the vastly improved videoconferencing that is now available, it is possible to communicate and have successful conference events. We have continued to use this technology for hybrid Council meetings, successful webinars and much of the working of the society.
Rather than giving a list of activities, I would like to reflect on how these build on the mission statement of ISPD to increase the global uptake, promote quality practice, and achieve optimal outcomes of peritoneal dialysis through enhanced advocacy, research, and education,
in order to improve the health and well-being of people living with end-stage kidney disease or suffering from acute kidney injury. It is through the hard work of committees and chapters that we achieve these aims. The Education Committee and International Liaison Committee work together to deliver targeted webinars to countries developing PD programmes; in 2023, a series targeted webinars were delivered to Indonesia and to Senegal. International webinars have also been delivered in conjunction with other societies: ISN, SFNDT, IPNA.
After the lull of the Covid era, ISPD is again supporting individuals (medics and nurses) to spend time in other units to gain experience in PD, usually for up to 3 months and usually for up to 6 people every 6 months. Again, there have been innovations. We used one of the fellowships to support 6 trainees in Latin America to spend 2 weeks at a PD unit and then attend the SLANH meeting in May in Argentina where there was an ISPD symposium and other PD sessions. ISPD also continues to support Saving Young Lives in enabling PD for AKI in many regions. I personally witnessed an extremely popular PD catheter insertion event in Cairo during the AFRAN meeting in February.
ISPD guidelines and position statements are the backbone of delivering high quality PD. 2023 saw the publication of the updated Catheter Infection-Related Recommendations. Currently there are 3 working groups putting together recommendations for assisted PD, nutrition in PD and definitions of time on PD.
Our journal, Peritoneal Dialysis International continues to flourish under the editorship of Jeff Perl and his editorial team. Its reach is extended beyond ISPD membership by academic access for SAGE at many libraries. As with most medical journals, readership is now mostly on-line so with the renewal of the SAGE contract, we shall no longer have a print version. On-line means access to early publication and visual abstracts. Podcasts focusing on individual papers or themes are also a regular feature.
The remaining part of the mission statement is advocacy. This depends on you, the membership, promoting the value of PD for people requiring dialysis. For ISPD to extend advocacy, we need therefore to build up our membership. To this end, we have developed an Associate Membership for nurses so that we become a much broader and more diverse organisation which more truly represents healthcare teams supporting people on PD. This will start now – January 2024. We have also introduced new categories of corporate membership to enable companies new to PD or developing PD related devices or products to engage with the PD community.
Despite all these activities, PD remains underutilised in many countries. ISPD has therefore joined with ISN to form the International Home Dialysis Consortium (IHDC) which will focus on how to increase equity of access to PD in the region where each meeting is held. The meeting output will be based on the deliberations of workgroups focusing on empowering patients, education, political advocacy and workforce needs. The first meeting will be in Buenos Aires in conjunction with WCN 24. Other ISPD advocacy work in 2024 includes support of developing PD in Senegal as a blueprint for PD in sub-Saharan Africa. To this end, there will be a team (medical and nursing) from Caen (France) visiting in March to provide local workshops and training. ISPD is also supporting the Pakistan Society of Nephrology meeting to facilitate discussions about PD growth.
All this activity needs administrative support. More types of membership, more activities mean more financial activity so we are now engaging with professional bookkeeping to lessen the workload for the Treasurer. We also realise that we cannot continue with a single person coordinating everything and we are actively seeking a second person to support Miguel Gallardo.
2024 is going to be a busy year for ISPD – not just with continuation of programmes and plans already mentioned, but also supporting the recently advertised call for research proposals, developing plans for the 40th anniversary and most importantly ensuring that the ISPD 2024 Congress in Dubai is a success. This is also the election year so the opportunity for members to become involved with the society and therefore have direct input into its activities, both by standing for posts and by electing people into these posts.
I would like to thank the other members of the Executive – Raj Mehrotra (President-Elect), Adrian Liew (Secretary) and Anjali Saxena (Treasurer) for all their hard work during the year, Committee chairs and Chapter leads for enabling and delivering events, only some of which I have mentioned in this letter. And above all, I want to thank Miguel who holds everything together.
Best wishes to you all for 2024. May it be an exciting year for the ISPD mission. I hope to meet many of you in Dubai in September