ILDS Summit Bursary Spotlight

17 August 2018

The ILDS has a global reach and is committed to encouraging the participation of Members from all world regions. The ILDS Summit Bursary Programme supported Member representatives who would otherwise not be able to attend the Summit.
Here, Dr Grace Chita Okudo, President, Nigerian Association of Dermatologists shares her experience of the World Skin Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Grace Chita Okudo
Dr Grace Chita Okudo

I wanted to attend the Skin Summit because I felt that my Association and I would benefit from the experiences of the leadership of other sister Dermatological Societies associated with ILDS. The ILDS has a membership of over 170 organisations spanning 80 countries, and that the Summit would likely bring all these organisations together. I, therefore, imagined that it would be a good platform to network.

The executive members of the NAD have noticed some gaps in local training of our dermatologists and knew that a couple of member societies of the ILDS will accept to train (in an exchange programme) our residents. The gap areas are in Dermatopathology and aesthetic dermatology. We also intended to explore other areas of collaboration such as research.

Rare tropical dermatological disorders have been areas of focus in our Association; it even formed part of the theme of the NAD’s last annual scientific conference held in Ile-Ife, in South-West Nigeria. I was happy to learn that the ILDS was also looking into these conditions and exploring ways to tackle these disorders. As a result of attending the Summit, I also have a clearer understanding of the activities and achievements of ILDS and how it can benefit our Association.

The shortage of dermatologists is not peculiar to my country, although highly relative. At the Summit, from the shared experiences of members from sister societies, I learned that the distribution of dermatologists tends to cluster in the cities, leaving the rural areas unattended. We have to think outside the box and localise the solution; the NAD has started doing this. A well thought out training of general practitioners on specific disease conditions and good referral system may be a way to go. The RDTC in Moshi, Tanzania and the Mali Model shared by Dr Ousmane Faye may be modified to suit my country. In our community dermatology efforts, teledermatology adapted to suit our peculiarity is being explored. Our focus is to cover the hard to reach terrains.

The impact the Summit had on me is immense. The ILDS is interested in the success of the NAD and other sister societies. Advisory assistance will not be lacking from the ILDS. It is a good platform for networking and linkage. The Bursary Award is also a good innovation that is highly commendable. I am a beneficiary of the Award!

I will once more congratulate the organisers of the 2nd ILDS World Skin Summit for a well packaged event.