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2011 World Digestive Health Day With a Glimpse Into 2012

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: November/December 2011 - Volume 45 - Issue 10 - p i–ii
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182341df6
WGO News

World Gastroenterology Organisation, WGO Foundation, Milwaukee, WI

Funding: None The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

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Each year on May 29 the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) holds a World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) to raise awareness about a particular digestive disease. The theme for 2011 has been “Enteric Infections: Prevention and Management; Clean Food, Clean Water, Clean Environment.” The public health campaign that involves WGO’s 110 national societies and 50,000 plus physicians is promoted throughout the world. WGO together with its Foundation compiles a list of resources, tools, and most importantly a corresponding global guideline. This year’s “Acute Diarrhea Guideline,” offered in English, Portuguese, Mandarin, French, Russian, and Spanish, provides clinical cascades for treatment at different resource levels. Other tools included 10 tips on eating and drinking while traveling, frequently asked questions on travelers’ diarrhea, research reviews, editorials and articles in e-WGN, WGO’s e-newsletter, and more.

Information on the WDHD 2011 was shared during various meetings that took place around the world, including India, Brazil, Argentina, USA, Sweden, and Turkey. A special supplement was created and distributed not only at Digestive Diseases week, but electronically to WGO’s full membership.

Over 20 member societies took part in WDHD by hosting events throughout the year. Various events focusing on acute diarrhea, clean water and sanitation, included public campaigns, courses and lectures on treatments, national meetings, press conferences, creating a country’s own Clean Water Day or celebrating WDHD, publications, and much more. Highlights from events that took place all over the world follow:

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A summary of talks was presented at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre titled “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Infections, Food and Stress.” The Public Forum, celebrating WDHD 2011 included talks from WGO Past-President Eamonn Quigley who spoke on “Post-Infectious IBS; What Is it and Who Gets It”? Professor Colin Hill, Professor of Microbial Food Safety at UCC and Principal Investigator at APC, discussed the concept of using beneficial bacteria to fight infection in the developing world. In his talk “Enteric Pathogens and Infections; What’s New and What’s to Do”? Professor Hill reminded us that infectious disease continues to claim the lives of almost 10 million children every year, 2 million of them from the scourge of diarrhea and 3.5 million involving malnutrition.

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The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation distributed a newsletter that focused on the health risks of diarrhea, especially in children, and provided various materials on symptoms, news and research, tests and diagnosis, and living with diarrhea.

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“Síndrome de intestino irritable” De la fisiopatología al tratamiento was celebrated this year in Chile with a successful tent that existed for the public educational talks, along with a scientific clinical conference.

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On May 29, the Indian Society of Gastroenterology held their Midterm Conference and at the same time, celebrated WDHD 2011. Dr S.P. Singh began with the WDHD introduction, followed by the Inauguration and WDHD 2011 Keynote Address by Professor V.I. Mathan. Finally, before the day of sessions, there were addresses by Professor B.S. Ramakrishna, Professor S.P. Misra, and Professor A. Chacko.

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To observe WDHD, a symposium was organized by the Department of Hepatogastroenterology, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Karachi, Pakistan. The objective of this symposium was to increase the awareness of healthcare professionals on the high prevalence of enteric infections in Pakistan. Speaking on this occasion, Professor Adeebul Hassan Rizvi, Director Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation stressed on the importance of cleanliness and hygienic measures to be observed in the community to prevent spread of enteric infections. Importance of clean food, clean water, and clean environment cannot be over emphasized, he added. Dr Sabhita Shabir introduced the activities of the WGO with its aims and objectives of celebrating this event.

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The Philippine Society of Gastroenterology, on the occasion of its golden anniversary, embarked on the process of redefining its future by examining the past accomplishments of the society and the current ongoing projects and advocacy programs geared toward the attainment of the society’s vision-mission. Two priority advocacy programs that are consistent not only with the goals identified but also with the national health issues, particularly are control of preventable diseases linked to poor sanitation and nutrition. Cognizant of existing and future global environmental health issues, the “PSG GREENS—Gastroenterologists for Reforestation and Environmental Sustainability” and the “PSG POWS—Potable Water System” were conceptualized and realized. The 3-year project that shall ensure that the PSG GREENS and the DLSHSI OMTB (One Million Trees and Beyond) will (1) Protect a 3-hectare forest area for a period of 3 years; (2) Plant 3,000 seedlings for the 3-year period; and (3) clear and maintain a 3-hectare forest for a period of 3 years. On October 10, 2010, the 50th anniversary of the society, the 2 projects were undertaken by the Civic Action Committee chaired by Dr Hilda Dina Gonzales with 5 members: Drs Cirilo Chan, Teresita Gamutan, Russellini Magdaong, Yvonne Mina, and Digna Pena. Together with students and academic staff volunteers from DLSHSI and the Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, the PSG 1st Vice President Dr Marceliano Aquino Jr. the PSG Secretary, Dr Joseph Bocobo and the Chair and 4 members of the Civic Action Committee, 1000 seedlings of plant species tuai, kalingag, dita, tamayuan, batiro and malagiting giting were planted on a cleared area of land in the steep Mount Palay-Palay in Mt Palay Palay National Park Ternate, Cavite.

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Spain celebrated Día Mundial de la Salud Digestiva with an event addressed to the general population with special interest in the prevention of gastrointestinal (GI) infections. There was a very high press impact with many articles written on various topics.

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In Ukraine, a scientific medical forum of 400 doctors was held, under the leadership of the National Gastro Association and National Dietitian Society, on enteric infections. Seminars included “Enteric Infections in Developing Countries,” “Children Rehabilitation Trends after Enteric Infections,” and “Helminths and Protozoa as Gastroenteritis Reason.” Clean water and clean environment as prevention base.

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From Heartburn to Constipation Common GI symptoms in the Community: Impact and Interpretation

Eamonn Quigley MD, FRCP, FACP, University   College Cork, Cork University Hospital, Ireland.   Richard Hunt, MD, Farncombe Family Digestive   Disease Research Institute, McMaster University   Health Science Centre, Canada.

Symptoms originating from the GI tract, such as heartburn, indigestion/dyspepsia, constipation, and bloating are very common in the community. In certain circumstances, they may indicate the presence of an underlying GI disease process, such as esophagitis, peptic ulcer, or cancer. For the majority of sufferers, however, these symptoms are occasional and do not indicate any underlying pathology and may be attributable to transient dietary or life-style issues. For others, symptoms are frequent and bothersome, or even disabling, yet formal investigation fails to reveal any structural or pathological abnormality and diagnoses such as nonerosive reflux disease (NERD), functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic constipation may be made.

It should come as no surprise that these symptoms (heartburn, indigestion bloating, and constipation) are frequently misinterpreted and their impact and significance misunderstood both by healthcare providers and sufferers. At one extreme, sufferers may ignore symptoms which are based on potentially life-threatening conditions and at the other, minor and transient upsets are overinvestigated and inappropriately treated. In between, lies a large number of individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease, functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic constipation whose distress goes unappreciated and whose symptoms are incorrectly evaluated and managed.

The goal of the WDHD 2012 advocacy and public health awareness campaign, “From Heartburn to Constipation,” therefore, is to help healthcare providers and sufferers alike to understand the symptoms associated with these common GI conditions and the means with which they can be properly and effectively managed.

Through a multifaceted approach, the WDHD 2012 campaign will endeavor to inform healthcare providers—among them physicians, pharmacists, and allied health professionals—and the community at large of the prevalence and pathogenesis of these symptoms and to present an evidence-based and patient-centered approach to their evaluation and management. This will involve, in the first instance, an appreciation of the global prevalence and impact of these symptoms; an approach that will ensure that any recommendations that are developed will be relevant and applicable world wide. This WDHD campaign will seek to encourage dialogue on these GI issues and facilitate interactions between the sufferer and the range of healthcare professionals (from pharmacist to physician) involved in their management. In doing so this will address such issues as when these symptoms can be self managed, when over-the-counter remedies are appropriate, and when to seek the advice and care of a physician.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.