Child Neurology experts from around the globe converged on the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) this month for the 12th International Child Neurology Congress held conjointly with the 11th Asian and Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology and held alongside the 6th Biennial meeting of the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
More than 1000 delegates representing more than 70 countries including very strong representation from Asia, attended the six day conference which delivered a compelling scientific program focused on the latest international developments and advancements in the care of children with neurological disorders.
Brisbane won the right to host the 2012 event over other Australian capital cities, the result of the bidding and project support of BCEC and additional assistance from Brisbane Marketing – a Team Brisbane effort.
Dr Kate Riney, Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee and Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Epileptologist at the University of Queensland and Mater Children’s Hospital said it was a clear win for Brisbane who submitted a ‘very professional and compelling bid.’
Funding received from Brisbane City Conference and Accommodation Bid Fund as part of the Team Brisbane bid assisted with travel bursaries for trainee and student neurologists from low income countries including Nigeria, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Dr Riney said this opportunity provided essential and often life saving knowledge, experience and access to research and international experts.
Arushi Saini from Chendigarh in Northern India, a trainee in paediatric neurology, said the conference provided her with the only possible opportunity to meet and listen to experts and be exposed to world’s best practice in her field. Her first time to Australia, Arushi said the highlight of her visit was the scientific program. “The sessions were so good and so important to me it was hard to choose.” Arushi thought the city of Brisbane beautiful and the people generous and helpful.
Prashant Jauhari, who comes from Uttar Pradesh, one of the biggest and most densely populated areas in North West India where there are very few child neurologists, said for him the conference was all about access. “First hand access to experts, access to the latest treatments which I honestly hope will aid with diagnosis in some cases, that will be invaluable to me in the future.” Prashant cited both the conference and cuddling a koala as the highlights of his visit.
Dr Riney said the conference exceeded the Committee’s expectations in achieving significant educational and scientific outcomes and in its reception by the delegates. Organisers were impressed with the world class facilities of the AEG Ogden managed Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, calling the whole experience ‘fantastic.’
“We were extremely impressed with the world class facilities of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the whole experience was fantastic. I couldn’t really fault a single aspect – the communication, the organisation, the service and staff and the catering was exceptional.”
Dr Riney said many delegates took advantage of the opportunity to experience Brisbane and surrounds and enjoyed the friendly attitude of the people, the climate, with Koalas very definitely winning the popular vote.
Manager of International Convention Bidding for BCEC, Alison Gardiner said such knowledge based conferences build on Brisbane’s reputation as a centre of excellence.
“Australia and Brisbane have a strong profile in the field of child neurology so it made sense to shine a spotlight on the work being done here, particularly with the Queensland Childrens’ Hospital coming on line soon. The economic, social and educational impacts are considerable,” she said.
Brisbane is strong in the scientific and research sectors and BCEC continues to grow its share of international and national meetings assisted by its very successful BCEC Convention Advocates Partnership group of leading scientists and academics.
BCEC Advocate Dr. Geoff Wallace, Director, Neurosciences Department, Royal Children’s Hospital and Mater Children’s Hospital was Co-Chair of the local organising committee and was instrumental in helping to secure the 12th International Child Neurology Conference for Brisbane and the Centre.
Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau Director Annabel Sullivan said Brisbane supported the organiser’s targeted marketing campaign to attract delegates including promoting the 2012 Brisbane Congress at the preceding conference.
“We are pleased that delegate numbers at the 2012 Congress exceeded expectations and successfully attracted a number of international delegates who were visiting Brisbane for the first time. This provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Brisbane as a clean, accessible, diverse and energised global city,” Ms Sullivan said.