By Yasser B. Abulhasan, MBChB, FRCPC
Chairman, Neurocritical Care-MENA Chapter of IPACCMS
It was a pleasure organizing the 1st Neurocritical Care Regional Meeting in the Middle East/Africa in conjunction with the 15th edition of the Emirates Critical Care Conference (ECCC). This demonstrated the evolving strong partnership between the International Pan Arab Critical Care Medicine Society (IPACCMS) and the Neurocritical Care Society (NCS). It was a true bilateral effort, and we believe it will continue to be so to advance the education and practice of neurocritical care in the region.
The regional meeting officially started on the first day of the ECCC conference with ENLS 3.0 and a research roundtable discussion which focused on future research in subarachnoid hemorrhage and drug development in rare diseases in neuroscience. The roundtable was a new addition to the existing neurocritical care part of the ECCC and definitely a successful one. On day two, the full day of neurocritical care track included presentations on ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury management, challenges in the diagnosis of neurologically ill patients, general critical care management of these patients and difficulties in prognostication after a neurological insult.
Day two also included a professor’s walk of the neuroscience abstracts submitted to the conference. These abstracts got published online prior to the conference and in-print in the June edition of Neurocritical Care 30:690–695. On day three, two 4.5 hour workshops were conducted back-to-back, Determination of Brain Death and Introduction to Transcranial Doppler Sonography. Both of these workshops also were new additions to the conference and were attended by 43 participants combined.
The open chapter meeting of the Neurocritical Care – Middle East/North Africa (NCC-MENA) Chapter for the International Pan Arab Critical Care Medicine Society with invitation of Neurocritical Care Society leadership took place on day two of the conference. During that chapter meeting, it was decided that the 2nd Regional NCC Meeting of the Middle East/Africa will take place in Dubai in conjunction with the 16th ECCC (April 2-4, 2020). The chapter also approved the concept of forming a neurocritical care nursing sub-chapter in preparation for the 2nd Regional NCC Meeting.
NCS staff also attended the meeting for the first time. Sharon Allen and Becca Stickney did an amazing job promoting the NCS message, society membership, educational products and built bridges with the region. By gaining firsthand insight on neurosciences in the region, they informed me that they were able to sense the regional need and hopefully will develop strategies to address those needs in the future. They talked to more than 100 attendees who visited the NCS booth and provided them with the latest resources offered by NCS.
Overall, we were thrilled to see neurosciences and the NCS well represented during the three days of the conference and felt the enthusiasm brought to the region. I would like to acknowledge Katja E. Wartenberg for co-chairing the conference with me and Tamer Abdelhak and NCS leadership’s endless effort in organizing this event. Additionally, I would like to thank Hussain Al Rahma (conference chairman) and his team for graciously hosting this first edition of the Regional NCC Meeting.
Overall, the conference was attended by 1,647 delegates between April 4-6, 2019. Of the 252 speakers delivering 353 lectures, 35 percent were international, 27 percent regional and 38 percent local. Speakers came from 43 countries. Ten workshops/courses/research focused discussions were conducted as part of the conference, including four that were neurocritical care based. This highlighted the international and multidisciplinary nature of the conference. Still, there is always room for growth and further inclusion. During the after-conference hours, social activities brought all together in an informal manner with offline interactions, networking and entertainment as Dubai is full of hidden gems and surreal places to visit.
Regional meeting speakers: Tamer Abdelhak, Yasser B. Abulhasan, Ali Al Obaidli, Hosam Al-Jehani, Mustafa Almousawi, Mary Kay Bader, Jamil Dibu, Michael Diringer, Akram Fayed, Angela Genge, Hani Humaidan, Saef Izzy, Kalpana Krishnareddy, Majid Mokhtari, Gisele Sampaio, Othman Solaiman, Jose Suarez, Gene Sung, Jeanne Teitelbaum, Michel Torbey, Katja E. Wartenberg and Yasser Zaghloul. The course/workshop directors were Katja E. Wartenberg for ENLS, Yasser B. Abulhasan for the Research Roundtable Discussion, Gene Sung for Determination of Brain Death and Michel Torbey for the Introduction to Transcranial Doppler Sonogrophy.
Global Partnership Milestones
Since 2011, the NCC-MENA chapter of IPACCMS has been one of the first global partners of the NCS. NCS leadership has been invited to sit during the open annual NCC-MENA chapter meeting. Over the years, the neurocritical care track of the ECCC continued to grow. ENLS was offered in April 2016, 2018 and 2019. In October 2018, the NCS confirmed the Mid-East/Africa first NCS Board of Directors member to represent the region. In April 2019, the 1st NCC Middle East/Africa Regional Meeting was conducted over three days in Dubai in conjunction with the 15th edition of the ECCC.
For now, save the date April 2-4, 2020. We do look forward to welcoming you all in Dubai for the 2nd Neurocritical Care Regional Meeting of the Middle East/Africa.