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Dr Barbara Makumbi
Dr Barbara Makumbi
IBD Interest Group Blog 2021

The Gastroenterology Foundation of Sub-Saharan Africa hosted the annual IBD Interest Group meeting on the 16th of October 2021 and was held in the heart of the Johannesburg business district in Sandton at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel.

Due to the COVID pandemic, most conferences have been held online – however the IBD meeting was a hybrid meeting , allowing both a face- to face meeting in addition to the the option of logging on virtually.

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Cecilia Coccia
12th Gastro Foundation Weekend for Fellows: 3 - 5 September 2021

I was fortunate enough to attend my third Spier Fellows weekend this September. Prior to the weekend, many questions ran through my mind: “what about covid?”, “how will a sociallydistanced conference be successful”, “usually its held in summer, so will I freeze to death on the morning run?” and “did the junior fellows even RSVP to the event?”. Despite much questioning and scepticism, I was proven wrong, the weekend was a great success as always, with fellows travelling from all over the country to attend. Furthermore, virtual platforms allowed for live streaming of the lectures to those who could not be present in person.

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Prof Chris Kassianides
Prof Chris Kassianides
G-ECHO Blog 2020

Since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, all the Gastro Foundation teaching programs pivoted to a virtual platform. The year ended apprehensively with the decision to host two face to face meetings - a liver interest group meeting at the end of November 2020 in Johannesburg and an IBD interest group meeting in the first week of December in Cape Town.

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   Dr Manoko Seabi
Dr Manoko Seabi
IBD Interest Meeting CPT 2020

The annual IBD interest meeting for 2020, held during the COVID-19 pandemic, took place at the Crystal Towers Hotel in Cape Town. This year there were only a handful of local people attending physically, while most people joined online. The sessions kicked off following a warm welcome and update by Prof Chris Kassianides on what the Gastroenterology Foundation of Sub Saharan Africa (GFSSA )has been up to, and what we can look forward to in the future with regards to education and collaborations, both locally and internationally, in the field of gastroenterology.

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Dr Mzamo Mbelle
Liver Interest Meeting JHB 2020

The annual liver interest meeting sponsored but the Gastro Foundation of SSA was held at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel and Conference Centre on 28 November 2020. It was an unexpectedly cold and miserable morning, almost resembling a typical autumn day in the UK. As the few delegates started to trickle in, there was an unstated ambiance which mirrored not only the weather, but the weight of the ongoing global pandemic.

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Prof. Sandie Thompson
The World Endoscopy Organisation (WEO)

The World Endoscopy Organisation (WEO) session at SAGES Virtual is the current endeavour of the Gastro Foundation to support gastroenterology in South Africa and in the SSA. This liaison was brought about by connections between Dua Kulwinder of the WEO and Chris Kassianides of the Gastro Foundation of SSA. There is increasing recognition by the worlds organisations and gastroenterology associations from High Income Countries that the upliftment of gastroenterology in Africa is much needed and that networks built up by individuals from SAGES and the Gastro Foundation are the key to developing lasting educational activities..

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Jonathan Bolon
11th Annual Fellows Weekend

In the stunning surroundings of Stellenbosch, on the 17th of January 2020, Spier would once again host the 11th annual Gastro Foundation Fellows weekend. The much anticipated weekend far exceeded the expectations of every Fellow who attended. One thing about the Cape and Stellenbosch region is that when it wants to show off its beauty, it is almost impossible to top. The Gastroenterology Foundation of South Africa could not have got it better in any way, and it was an incredible privilege to attend the weekend.

One thing about the Cape and Stellenbosch region is that when it wants to show off its beauty, it is almost impossible to top.

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Jonathan Bolon
Year in Oxford

I have been back in South Africa for a few months and had the opportunity to reflect on what was a crazy, difficult, enlightening year in Oxford. Although Oxford is “only” a direct flight to London and short train ride away, the process to get there and get settled was immense. Getting credentials certified via a US bureau, arranging GMC registration, getting visa sponsorship via the Royal College of Physicians, not to mention the actual visa applications, TB clearance’s, NHS surcharges etc. etc. etc. Settling in Oxford wasn’t hard.

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Prof Wendy Spearman

Prof Mashiko Setshedi

A Dynamic Duo of Eponymous Lectures – A Visit by Dr Jay Hoofnagle

Dr Jay Hoofnagle, Director of the Liver Disease Research Branch in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA was the 2019 Solly Marks Visiting Professor. He visited the Groote Schuur Hospital/University of Cape Town Divisions of Gastroenterology and Hepatology from 12-19 August 2019. His programme included joining the Liver Clinic, GIT and Liver academic rounds as well as the histology meetings and interacting with consultants, GIT Fellows and medical registrars.

The Solly Marks Lecture was on “New challenges in Drug-induced Liver Injury”. Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is an important disease entity as it is the most common cause of acute liver failure and a common reason for FDA non-approval or withdrawal of an agent from clinical use. 3-5% of hospital admissions for jaundice are due to DILI and it is a major reason for a liver consultation. This is very relevant to South Africa where many admissionsin the setting of HIV are due to Efavirenz or Tuberculous drug-induced liver injuries which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

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Dr Bilal Bobat
Gastro Foundation Liver Interest Group

The Annual Liver Interest group meeting was held in Cape Town in its usual slot over the last weekend of November 2019. The focus of the Gastroenterology Hepatology Association of Sub Saharan Africa (GHASSA) has been on Viral Hepatitis elimination and by consequence Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) awareness.
The theme of this year’s meeting continued on that note with an update on political matters aimed at eradicating Viral Hepatitis from Mark Sonderup. Policy is gradually shifting with more African leaders recognizing the importance of Viral Hepatitis as a contributor to morbidity and mortality in their countries. This has been notable in Egypt with one of the world’s largest hepatitis C treatment programme, used to further and accrue other health benefits in that country.

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Hepatitis C

Persistent infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, resulting in 475 000 deaths in 2015.1 The estimated global HCV prevalence in 2015 was 1·0% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 0·8–1·1), aggregating to 71·1 million viraemic individuals (95% UI 62·5–79·4) infected with HCV.1,2

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Advancing Hepatitis B Awareness through Preventing and Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of Hepatitis B in South Africa

The adopted 2016 plan to eliminate viral hepatitis globally is admirable and correct given the burden of, in particular, chronic hepatitis B and C infection.

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The GHASSA (previously GFSA) sponsored Liver meetings embedded into SAGES have been successful. Starting in Durban, in 2015, where EASL partnered to start a series of “Best of EASL” meetings.

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Acute liver failure review – Fran van der Schyff

Finding ways out of the conundrum that is acute liver failure management: The Gastro Foundation acute liver failure symposium

Many an experienced clinician will find him or herself daunted by the presentation of a patient in acute liver failure.

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IBD Interest Group Meeting: – Thania Kahn

The IBD Interest Group Meeting was held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town, on a sunny winter’s Saturday in June. This was the 13th Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) interest group meeting, hosted once again by the Gastro Foundation.

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Patient Blood Management

I was invited to an interest group meeting at Inanda Club, Sandton that was hosted by the Gastro Foundation. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning and the room was filled with familiar faces. What better way to spend a Saturday morning: great food, excellent company and brilliant discussions.

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Spier Weekend 2019

On the 1st of February, a pristine day at Spier in the Cape ushered in the 10th annual Gastro Foundation Fellows meeting. The preceding meetings promised and delivered not only invaluable academic preparation for fellows sitting for the exit exams in various fields of gastroenterology, but the opportunity to network and form enduring friendships. This meeting would prove no different.

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9th Liver Interest Group Annual Meeting

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I made my way to the Radisson Blu Gautrain hotel in Sandton for the 9th annual liver interest meeting. After a quick cup of coffee to catch up with colleagues, we made our way into the modern and stylish conference centre to begin the talks of the day.

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11th Annual IBD Interest Group Meeting: Cape Town 2018

The idyllic Vineyard Hotel, with its beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain, played host to the 11th Gastroenterology Foundation of Sub-Saharan Africa Inflammatory Bowel Disease [IBD] Interest Group Meeting held on 27 October 2018.

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56th annual SAGES conference
The 56th annual SAGES conference held at The Forum in Sandton between 8th and 11th August 2018, featured a number of post graduate programs hosted by the Gastroenterology Foundation of SSA.
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DDW Meeting
The 2018 DDW meeting was held in Washington DC during the first week of June and attracted over 20000 attendees. Once again, the meeting created an opportunity to update oneself on all areas of GI Hepatology and to continue talks aligning the Foundation with a number of associations both in Europe and the USA.
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New frontiers in Crohn’s perianal fistulae disease
The American Surgical colorectal society recommendations are a good review of what should be done in this population group. In 2011 they published their practice parameters.
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9th annual Gastroenterology Foundation Fellows Weekend
For the 9th annual Gastroenterology Foundation Fellows Weekend, 40 fellows and 27 faculty descended upon the Spier Conference Centre 2-4 February 2018. As a visiting medical GI fellow at Groote Schuur from Brown University in the United States, I was fortunate to be included on the Spier roster this year. Read more

8th Liver Interest Group annual meeting
The 8th Liver Interest Group annual meeting was held in Cape Town over the first weekend of December 2017, and this year’s meeting was special with the launch of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology association of Sub - Saharan Africa (GHASSA). Read more

10 year Overview
This year the Gastroenterology Foundation of South Africa celebrates its 10th anniversary. It is an appropriate time, therefore, to reflect on the achievements the Foundation has made over the past 10 years. Read more

Third Annual General Scientific Meeting of GASLIDD
The Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases (GASLIDD) held their Third Annual General Scientific Meeting .....Read more

IBD Interest Group Meeting – Crystal Towers, Cape Town
A now established highlight on the academic calendar, the IBD1 interest group, hosted by the Gastro Foundation and kindly funded by Cipla, Janssen, Medtronic and Takeda.....Read more

UEGW Postgraduate Course
The UEGW Postgraduate Course took place at one of the well-appointed Conference rooms of the United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa on July 6 2017. This was the opening day of the 8th AMAGE conference and was dedicated to the Gastroenterology-Foundation-of-SSA-sponsored Best of UEG Week Postgraduate Teaching Course - the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Read more
2017-Spier-Fellows -Weekend
The 8th Gastro Foundation weekend for fellows weekend from the 27th Jan - 31st Jan 2017, has come and gone but the impact lingers. I arrived Cape Town earlier on 26th January with a Rwandan fellow, thanks to the ever efficient, Karin and Bini et al and we explored the beautiful Spier Hotel. That evening we were treated to an exotic dinner with the guest speaker, Prof Rogler from Switzerland. Read more

8th Gastro Foundation Weekend for Fellows
The eighth annual Gastroenterology Foundation Fellows Weekend was held at the beautiful Spier Wine Farm during the weekend of 27th-29th January. The Fellows Weekend is a meeting dedicated to promoting the development of future specialists within gastroenterology. As a result of the formation of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Association of sub-Saharan Africa (GHASSA), fellows from Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Mozambique, Kenya and Nigeria joined their South African counterparts for the meeting. Read more
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Best EASL, Durban at ASSA SAGES – August 2015 – Professor Wendy Spearman

Chris Kassianides,Chairman of the Gastroenterology Foundation of South Africa, in conjunction with EASL put together a whole day symposium of Liver talks at this year’s ASSA SAGES meeting in Durban. The Faculty included international speakers Professor Massimo Pinzani, Director of the UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health; Professor Tom Karlsen, leader of the Norwegian PSC centre and Molecular Hepatology at the University of Oslo; Professor Frank Tacke of RWTH Aachen University, where he is the leader of a molecular liver research laboratory; and Professor Fumni Lesi from Lagos, Nigeria. The local speakers were Corne Kruger, Mashiko Setshedi, Mark Sonderup and Wendy Spearman from Cape Town.
IBD Microbiota; June 2015 - Chris Kassiandies

Professor Gerhard Rogler has become a regular visitor to South Africa and and always provides interesting talks and stimulating discussion at the Gastro Foundation IBD interest group meetings. This meeting focussed on the current topic of IBD and the microbiome.

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Spier Fellows Meeting 2016 - Dr Reena Kara

The seventh annual Gastroenterology Foundation Fellows Weekend – a fun and interactive event focusing on the development of the future gastroenterologists – returned to Spier Wine Farm from 5 to 7 February 2016. As a first time attendee I was excited to see what this very unique training event entailed. Senior colleagues had advised me that it would be an academically taxing but thoroughly enjoyable experience and it definitely lived up to that.
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Lagos blog - Mark Sonderup

If the truth be told, I was told not to go to Lagos by none other than a Nigerian colleague. Unless of course I was ensured an armed escort and had handlers all the time. I thought it a bit dramatic however similar themes emanated from other colleagues. Then the Nigerian elections happened and we were told that the trip may be delayed because of election violence and instability.

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AGA Post Grad Course in Accra, Ghana - Prof R Ally

I was so saddened to see the news yesterday that over 100 people had been killed in Accra, Ghana, where a petrol station exploded. Just 3 months ago, the Gastro Foundation made its first sojourn into Sub - Saharan Africa by delivering the DDW Postgraduate course (2014) in this city.

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Report on the 5th LIVER INTEREST GROUP Annual Meeting
29th November 2014

The outstanding feature of this meeting was the fact that it the first occasion on which hepatologists/gastroenterologists from elsewhere in Africa attended and took an active part in the meeting. It has long been apparent that the future of Hepatology/ Gastroenterology in Africa would depend upon an active interaction and collaboration between experts in these fields from all parts of the continent, and this was confirmed at this meeting. The populations of the African continent are beset by numerous illnesses, many of which have their highest incidences in, or are unique to, the continent. The solution to these problems will require a close interaction between experts from all parts of the Africa, a fact that that was clearly demonstrated during the discussion periods of the meeting.

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OCTOBER 18th – 22nd 2014

The United European Week (UEGW) is the largest and most prestigious GI meeting in Europe and fast becoming the most prestigious in the world. Over 13 000 participants from 118 countries attended, 3500 abstracts were submitted with 466 invited lectures and eleven simultaneous live streams to a global audience.

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