With the flashing of frilly petticoats and the high kicks of cancan dancers, attendees of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) World Congress, held June 22-25, received a true French welcome in Lyon. The dramatic flair of the dancers on stage as part of the opening ceremony kept the audience mesmerized. They were followed by a pair of nightclub singers who belted out show tunes and bluesy numbers, such as “Big Spender” and “Hit the Road Jack.” It was a lighthearted diversion from the business-the opening remarks and Knud Jansen Lecture- that sandwiched the entertainment. The high-energy performance set the tone for the rest of the Congress and the neon-splashed exhibit halls. C’est magnifique.
More than 3,000 visitors from 110 countries gathered in the halls, lecture rooms, and auditoriums to learn, collaborate, share their knowledge, and exchange ideas at the World Congress, under the guiding theme of AIM: Assessment, Integration and Mobility. As defined for the Congress, key elements of these principles are as follows:
- Assessment: A key concept in science, by which outcome parameters are defined, assessment distinguishes between the significant contributions we make and the flaws that trap P&O services. Assessment is also the starting point for clinical practice in P&O.
- Integration: In order to achieve these goals, our field must integrate multidisciplinary approaches and from those areas that are not traditionally in P&O services’ scope. Also, integration of strategic efforts is needed to enable ISPO to work out solutions to local and global issues.
- Mobility: Proper assessment of each patient’s capacity can guide us about how P&O should be applied in order to improve his or her day-to-day activities and eventually enhance his or her quality of life.
The program featured 469 speakers, 21 instructional courses, 55 symposia, 40 free paper sessions, and more than 350 posters. The latest research findings and studies were presented on topics relevant to the fields of orthotics, prosthetics, orthopedic technology, orthopedic footwear technology, rehabilitation, and mobility seating.
“Let us learn something that we can bring back from this Congress and share with our colleagues who couldn’t come and learn from new colleagues,” said Söderberg.
The Knud Jansen Lecture marks the traditional opening of the ISPO World Congress. This year’s speaker, Chapal Khasnabis, a technical officer with the World Health Organization (WHO), hails from India. His lecture focused on Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE). Assistive technology spans everything from canes to robots, he said, and should be a global priority because the reason behind the need for assistive technologies is equalizing between less-resourced countries and higher-income countries. That is, communicable diseases are diminishing and the aging population around the world is increasing, and the latter population will be those with the greatest needs for assistive technologies. He stressed the importance of industry stakeholders coming together, not only for the provision of assistive technologies, but also to form policy, increase awareness, and provide education on the topic. “Money alone can’t solve this problem,” Khasnabis said. “We need people.”
The accompanying exhibition gave 138 companies and nonprofit organizations from 23 countries the opportunity to share their products, technology, and services with an international audience. Many of the companies already have an international presence, including Freedom Innovations, Proteor, and medi, but it gave others, such as ESP and Paceline, who shared a booth, a chance to expand their reach. “Attendance is great,” said ESP Sales Manager Matthew Doering. “It’s a good way to reconnect with our international customers.”
ISPO will hold its 16th World Congress May 8-11, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa.
To access the ISPO World Congress 2015 abstracts, visit www.oandp.com/link/321.