The 12th annual Congress of the European Association of Haemophilia and Allied Disorders (EAHAD) broke records by drawing more than 2,600 medical experts from 80 countries to the Czech capital in February. Medical advances in sectors like genetic therapy — as well as Prague’s beauty — were among the reasons EAHAD said it set its sights on the city.
Europe is leading the way when it comes to research in rare diseases, Professor Mike Makris, the president of EAHAD, said at a press conference the day before the 6-8 Feb. congress kicked off.
The Czech Republic in particular boasts a sophisticated network of specialized centres, and the congress served as “a recognition of the Czech Republic and the cooperation of its specialists — physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, insurance companies — all who take care of patients with bleeding disorders,” the president of the EAHAD 2019 Congress, Dr. Jan Blatny, said. “No country where the care wouldn’t be at a high level would become the host of such a congress.”
The association brings together health-care professionals who provide care for those with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders and EAHAD 2019 drew the most response from members since the association’s establishment in 2007. Blatny, who serves as a consultant haematologist and lead clinician at the Department of Paediatric Haematology, Centre for Thrombosis and Haemostasis at the Children’s University Hospital Brno, Czech Republic, said in a statement that he felt “very honoured that my country was given the privilege to host an EAHAD Congress.”
Prague’s advances in genetic therapy was a topic of conversation at the congress, along with discussion of the latest treatment developments and ongoing clinical challenges in managing haemophilia and related bleeding disorders. Sessions ranged from the role of a haemophilia nurse from a Czech perspective to how to explain difficult issues to patients. The Prague Congress Centre served as a picture-perfect backdrop over the historic city, with the foyer doubling as space for an exhibition of scientific posters and networking for delegates (who snacked on local cuisine using dinnerware that was mostly biodegradable as part of continuing local sustainability efforts).
The “Hot Topics” closing session put a spotlight on challenges and advancements in the industry —particularly on the theme of the ageing haemophilia population and the challenges ahead. And the congress devoted a half-day workshop to a “Young Investigators Workshop,” which gave early-career professionals the chance to learn from some of the best mentors in the field.
“It was a great honour to host the 12th EAHAD congress, as it shows appreciation of the professionalism of Czech physicians, as well as trust in our organising skills,” said Prague Congress Centre’s Sales and Marketing Director Lenka Zlebkova, who was involved in the planning process. “We’re thrilled because it drew a lot of media attention to the haemophilia cause and opened the public debate about care of Czech haemophiliacs.”