The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) concluded its 27th Annual Conference on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. The main conference began at Intercontinental Addis Hotel on Tuesday February 5, 2019.

As the tradition has always been, prior to the conference was a series of Continuing Medical Education (CME) sessions at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) on February 3 and 4, 2019. The CME sessions covered lots of topics under urogynecology, endocrinology and infertility specialties.

The preconference CME sessions also involved hands on trainings on ultrasound and laparoscopy. The hands-on trainings were conducted in the compounds of Black Lion Hospital and Saint Hospital Millennium Medical College. Attended by more than hundred members of ESOG, the trainings were given by both local and international well experienced trainers.

The Opening event kicked off on Tuesday with speeches from Dr. Lia Tadesse, state minister of health, Dr. Delayehu Bekele, president of ESOG, Mr. Jamal Kassew, country director for Egender Health.

This year’s event caught attention as it brought to the stage two distinguished members for honorable awards. Dr. Mutesim Abdulahi was awarded for his community service, and Dr. Fisseha Tadesse received ESOG’s Outstanding Leadership Award. Two institutions, Ipas Ethiopia and David and Lucile Packard Foundation were also awarded for two decades of dedicated partnership.

That was not all about this year’s conference though. The tradition of awarding best abstracts has also been introduced. Of the 25 selected for presentations, two abstracts: Dr. Dawit Bacha for his abstract entitled- Prevalence and patterns of Cardiovascular Diseases among Pregnant Mothers Attending Antenatal in Addis Ababa, an oral presentation; and Dr. Mustefa Negash was also awarded for poster presentation entitled- Obstetric Referrals at SPHMMC: Pre-referral Care and Referral Appropriateness.

Poster presentations is also the other special feature of this year’s conference. Of the more than the 90 abstracts submitted to the Scientific Committee of ESOG, 10 were selected for poster presentations. These abstracts were displayed on TV screens to be visited by participants during lunch and breakout sessions. 

Having been attended by hundreds of members, partners and other stakeholders, the event also brings to the scene the famous Dr. Mihiret Debebe. Dr. Mihiret gave a speech on Healing the Healer followed by brief discussions on the matters. Dr. Mihiret is known for his two novels “Yetekolefebet” and “Lela Sew” and for his psychological and motivational speeches.

Participation: the total number of Ethiopians who participated in around 30, which is 0.27% of the total participants. Given the fact that Ethiopia takes a 1.41% share of the global population, we are underrepresented in this conference. The proportionate number should have been at least 153 participants from Ethiopia.

Cancer:  as a major challenge for developing countries: although cervical cancer remains to be a major challenge for Ethiopia and the other developing countries, it has been seen that the other gynecologic malignancies are on the rise. The health system is ill prepared for provision of cancer care and it has been pointed out that, prevention activities for cervical cancer should still be our priority. Preparation for advanced cancer care was also highly recommended.

Obesity: as an emerging challenge that is following the changes in the socio-demographics of the population including the westernization of the life style of Urban women in Africa (sedentary life style, unhealthy feeding practices), obesity is destined to be a major burden. Given the fact that it is related to more than 195 health problems, the call for action was loud and clear.

ANC: anti-natal care, remains to be critical in detecting both maternal and child health issues in a timely fashion. The need for increasing the frequency of visits from 4 to 8 has been underlined. It has been pointed that the current status of ANC follow-up in Ethiopia hasn’t even made it to the previous recommendation of 4, adequately.