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World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) News and Events

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Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: October 2020 - Volume 54 - Issue 9 - p 1-2
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001417
  • Free


On May 29, WGO celebrated, with tremendous success, World Digestive Health day (WDHD) with a 24-hour social media blitz, beginning at 00:00 UTC. While the event date has passed, dedication to this year’s topic, the Gut Microbiome, remains strong.

By increasing awareness worldwide of the role the microbiome plays in overall human health, in particular among low- and middle-income countries, the WGO global network of WGO member societies, partners, and sponsors can raise the level awareness.

Our gut microbiome contains tens of trillions of microorganisms and over 1000 known species of bacteria,1 all of which have many important functions in the human body. It is because of these many functions that it is important that the world understand the research and evidence behind the gut microbiome and what has been shown to be effective. In this way we can begin to close the gap between inconclusive and confusing information about our diet and our health. It is for this reason that WGO selected the Gut Microbiome as the focus of the 2020 World Digestive Health Day campaign.

WGO’s task is supported by a Steering Committee with a global perspective. The Steering Committee provides expertise on the gut microbiome, guides the course of the campaign, and develops educational and training materials. In collaboration with WGO Member Societies, WGO Training Centers and Regional Affiliate Associations, the Steering Committee defines this global initiative and provides the resources to sustain the effort throughout the year.

Through a multi-faceted campaign, WGO provides simple messages for the general public in order to assist them in understanding how the gut microbiome affects the health of not only the digestive system but our entire body. Second, WGO develops information for health care professionals with an emphasis on health care professionals in low-resource, developing regions. Multiple informational pieces are planned and will be distributed worldwide, for patients and health care professionals. Through the WDHD 2020 campaign WGO will provide a better understanding and recognition of the gut microbiome. Your participation, through educating the public about the diseases, encouraging participation in screening programs, and promoting healthy lifestyle, is crucial for the success of this campaign.

In addition, later this year, the WDHD 2020 Handbook focused on the gut will be available as a resource to the public.

On behalf of the Co-Chairs of WDHD 2020 Eamonn Quigley (United States) and Uday Ghoshal (India), Chair of The WGO Foundation and President-Elect of WGO, Guilherme Macedo (Portugal), The WGO Foundation Vice Chair, Richard Hunt (United Kingdom), and the 2020 Steering Committee, Julio Bai (Argentina), Premysl Bercik (Canada), Catherine Buckley (Ireland), Paúl Cárdenas (Ecuador), Henry Cohen (Uruguay), Francisco Guarner (Spain), Kok Ann Gwee (Singapore), Saeed Hamid (Pakistan), Gerald Holtmann (Australia), Dina Kao (Canada), Tarkan Karakan (Turkey), Leonid Lazebnik (Russia), Stephen J.D. O’Keffe (South Africa), Mary Ellen Sanders (United States), Ala Sharara (Lebanon), Fergus Shanahan (Ireland), and Justin Wu (Hong Kong) we delighted to have marked the day with a positive global response.


One of the ways WGO is committed to shining a light on the WDHD 2020 topic, the gut microbiome, is through year-long awareness efforts and the reminder that gut health is important every day. We challenge you to get involved in the campaign by creating exciting ways to advocate and raise awareness throughout the year. Take Action and celebrate in your respective communities. WGO is appreciative of all campaign participants and for your continued efforts to support the WDHD campaign. To learn more about WDHD 2020 today visit


  • Host a virtual academic conference or symposium featuring scientific programs, plenaries on the gut microbiome.
  • Create a toolkit for health care professionals and the general public.
  • Organize a public awareness campaign and disseminate campaign materials through blogs, podcasts, and videos.
  • Create your own way to TAKE ACTION to support WDHD and share with us.


  • Generate awareness by developing a social media campaign and use the hashtags #WDHD2020 and #GutMicrobiome.
  • Engage your local media with podcasts, public service announcements, press releases, radio advertisements, or TV interviews.
  • Create your own way to CELEBRATE WDHD and share with us.

We would love to hear about the ways you celebrated WDHD. Please visit to officially submit your event for inclusion on the WGO meetings and events calendar. Your event may be featured on the WDHD 2020 events and success stories webpage, and in e-WGN, the official newsletter of WGO. To read the latest issue of e-WGN, please visit


Tag WGO on Facebook @WorldGastroOrg and Twitter @WorldGastroOrg, or mention us on Instagram @WorldGastroOrg, and be sure to include the hashtag #WDHD2020 in the post. We encourage you to connect and interact with us on LinkedIn too (search for World Gastroenterology Organisation). To learn more about how to interact with WGO on social media, visit


Plans for WDHD 2021 are underway – check back this fall for the announcement of the 2021 topic!

For more information about WDHD 2020 or to obtain the WDHD 2020 logo visit

Gastro 2020 in Prague, December 3–5, 2020—Don’t Miss the Gastroenterology Event of 2020!

Download the Congress Mobile App Today!

We are pleased to inform you that the Mobile App Gastro 2020 for Android (Google Play) and iOS, Apple (App Store) is now available! Download the Gastro 2020 Mobile App by scanning the QR Code below or by searching “Gastro 2020” in the App Store/Google Play (Android Market).

Address From Co-Presidents

Dear Colleagues,

Naturally, the medical community is affected by the current unprecedented situation, when even the basic principles of our life including our professional activities and communication are restricted or modified.

While many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are poorly understood, one conclusion can definitely be made. All parts of the world are afflicted but with highly varying intensity; paradoxically, and with high respect, the highest infection and, also, mortality rates have been and are reported from industrially advanced countries and densely populated territories, leaving other large regions only little affected.

In this situation it is difficult to plan anything, and even more so big international scientific meetings expected to attract attendees from all over the world. The future in general and a pandemic in particular are impossible to predict; nevertheless, the conviction is beginning to prevail that we have to do our best to basically restore our preinfection style of life with locally specific safety measures and protection of the at-risk groups of the population.

As to the organization of Gastro 2020, a joint WGO and CSG meeting: The basic principle to organize a full size international highly representative meeting, is maintained, all opinion leaders from all parts of the world have responded with understanding and 95% of the addressed faculty members have accepted our invitation.

Nevertheless, the outer borders of the EU are closed, travel even within the continent is limited, and it is almost impossible for many non-EU citizens to enter EU member countries. While the epidemiological situation may improve, it can also vary making access to Prague from other continents impossible. In the former case, the congress will be organized fully in person, and if not, we will have to creatively arrange it in a more or less hybrid virtual setting.

Our appeal at this moment is: stay positive. Throughout its history, mankind has been faced with many challenges and even catastrophes, and we are sure that it will also survive this pandemic even stronger and more enlightened. Please do support the positive development, do support direct communication within the GI community, do support science and education even under these specific conditions, and do plan to attend the Gastro 2020 meeting in Prague—a beautiful and safe city!

Let’s meet in Prague!

Professor Julius Spicak

Co-President, Gastro 2020

CSG Board Representative

Professor Naima Lahbabi-Amrani

Co-President, Gastro 2020

WGO President

For more information on Gastro 2020, please visit the meeting website at

James Melberg World Gastroenterology Organisation, Milwaukee, WI


1. European Society for Neurogastroenterology & Motility. Gut Microbiota Info. Gut Microbiota for Health. 2020. Available at:
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