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IHPBA 2024 World Congress Comes to Cape Town

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This marks an historic occasion as it will be the first IHPBA World Congress to be hosted on the African continent with the Local Organising committee consisting of members from seven sub-Saharan African countries.

The congress will provide comprehensive updates on the management of a wide spectrum of liver, pancreas and bile duct diseases and will include symposia, state-of-the-art lectures and debates. The major South African surgical and medical gastroenterology associations, the Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA), the  South African Gastroenterology Society (SAGES), and the South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons (SASES) will participate and have their biennial combined meeting parallel to the IHPBA meeting.

Unique and new to IHPBA World Congresses is a Legacy Initiative, a concept where a specific liver, pancreas or bile duct related disease which is prevalent and presents particular challenges in management on the continent or in the region where the meeting takes place is highlighted. The Legacy topic for the 2024 IHPBA World Congress is primary liver cancer (hepatocellular cancer ), which represents a formidable challenge not only on the African continent, but also in other low- and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa primary liver cancer is the second and third leading cancer in men and women respectively. More than 38 000 patients on the sub-continent were diagnosed with primary liver cancer in 2020, with almost 37000 liver cancer -related deaths occurring during the same year. In high-income countries, between 40% and 50% patients with primary liver cancer undergo treatment for cure, compared to less than 1% in sub-Saharan Africa, due patients presenting late with advanced disease that cannot be cured. In addition patients that can potentially be cured do not receive the required treatment due to lack of  the necessary resources.

To optimally address this daunting challenge, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to develop and facilitate access to services across the spectrum of managing primary liver cancer. This includes prevention and risk factor management of HCC, surveillance and screening to enable earlier diagnosis, surgical and medical treatment and palliative care. The meeting will therefore in addition to the official IHPBA, ASSA, SAGES and SASES programs also host the three day African Viral Hepatitis Convention, hosted by the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Association of sub-Saharan Africa (GHASSA) in partnership with over twenty international associations, societies and advocacy groups, a dedicated full day session on the challenges surgical and interventional management of HCC in sub-Saharan Africa and a full day meeting of the African Palliative Care Association.

We regard this meeting as an unparalleled opportunity for the IHPBA to extend networking and to develop professional relationships and foster international collaboration that will advance the understanding and management of liver, pancreas and bile duct related diseases worldwide. The Liver Cancer Legacy Initiative and the presence of a large contingent of sub-Saharan African healthcare colleagues offers a unique opportunity to provide  a broad-based cooperative engagement which will have  a positive impact on one of the biggest healthcare challenges currently facing Africa.

Cape Town is acknowledged as one of the best conference destinations globally. We hope that with the beauty of the city as a backdrop and the vibrancy of its multicultural society a collegial spirit of solidarity and inclusiveness will create the optimal environment for a memorable meeting and a lasting legacy.

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